Basic Facts

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) is an island country that sits northwest of mainland Europe. It is made up of mainland Great Britain (England, Wales, and Scotland) and the northern part of the island of Ireland (Northern Ireland). It has numerous smaller islands. The UK is low-lying in the east with mountains in the north of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales. Services, particularly banking, insurance, and business services, are key drivers of GDP growth.


*Please note that the official currency is the currency of remuneration when employed through WorkMotion in the UK.

Capital :
Currency :
British Pound Sterling (£)
Languages spoken :
Population :
67.33 million (2021 est.)
Minimum wage 2023 :
£10.42 per hour (For 23 years and above)
Cost of Living index :
$$$$ (27 of 139 nations)
Payroll Frequency :
VAT - standard rate :
GDP - real growth rate :
7.4% (2021 est.)

Statutory Holidays

The national holidays mentioned below are valid for the year 2023.

Bank or public holidays do not have to be given as paid leave. Employers can choose to include bank holidays as part of a worker’s statutory annual leave. A substitute holiday system applies for certain holidays falling during the weekend. The following Monday will normally be the substitute day.

Holiday Name
Extra Information
January 2
New Year’s Day
Substitute day
April 7
Good Friday
April 10
Easter Monday
May 1
Early May bank holiday
May 8
Bank holiday for the coronation of King Charles III
May 29
Spring bank holiday
August 28
Summer bank holiday
December 25
Boxing Day
December 26
Christmas Day

Contract Sharing Time

The approximate time for sharing the contract with an employee in the UK is 3 business days assuming no special requests or changes to our standard employment contract. Any such requests or changes would need to undergo internal or external review, directly leading to a time delay.

NOTE: This number is subject to change and is only an estimation of the Contract Sharing Time. The estimated Contract Sharing Time begins from the moment that WorkMotion has received all required information from both the client and the employee.

What You Need To Know

  • There is no statutory entitlement to severance payments except for redundancy dismissals.
  • Employers are mandated to provide workplace pensions.
  • Employees are entitled to the majority of statutory employment rights, while other types of workers (such as independent contractors and workers) are not.
  • There is no specific legal provision on the regulation of remote work but there is a provision for flexible working which allows employees to apply for work from home if they have worked continuously for the same employer for the last 26 weeks. It is known as making a statutory application.

Labor Conditions

Working Hours

Employees cannot work for more than 48 hours a week, normally averaging over 17 weeks. Employees can choose to work more by opting out of the 48-hour week. Workers have the right to one uninterrupted 20-minute rest break during their working day if they work more than six hours a day. Workers also have the right to 11 hours of rest between working days.


For an employee to work overtime it must be stated and agreed upon in the contract. Usually, employees cannot be forced to work more than an average of 48 hours per week. Employers do not have to pay workers for overtime as long as the average pay for the total hours worked does not fall below the National Minimum Wage. The employment contract must include details of any overtime pay rates or paid time off in lieu of their regulations.

Probation Period

There are no statutory provisions for probation periods in the United Kingdom so the exact terms of this period are governed by the employment contract, typically lasting between three and six months.

Termination Notice Period

Employers may offer payment in lieu of notice or a different notice period in the employment contract. Employers may ask the employee not to come to work, or to work at home or another location during the notice period. This is called gardening leave. Employees get the same pay and contractual benefits when put on gardening leave.

Length of Service

Notice Period

1 month – 2 years

1 week

2 years – 12 years

1 week for every completed year of service

More than 12 years

12 weeks

Leave / Time Off

Annual Leave

Statutory paid holiday entitlement is limited to 28 days for employees working six-day workweeks. Part-time workers are entitled to at least 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday. For example, if they work 3 days a week, they must get at least 16.8 days’ leave a year (3 × 5.6). The general notice period for taking leave is at least twice as long as the amount of leave a worker wants to take, plus one day.

Sick Leave

Employees in the UK are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay for up to 28 weeks, paid by the employer. If an employee is absent from work for more than seven days, they must provide a note from their doctor to document their Sick Pay obligation. This includes non-working days such as weekends and bank holidays. If an employee is ill just before or during their holiday, they can take the time as sick leave instead.

Parental Leave

Employees are entitled to 18 weeks of unpaid parental leave for each child or adopted child, up to their 18th birthday. A maximum of four weeks per year for each child can be taken for parental leave (unless the employer agrees otherwise).

Parents can share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay between them. They need to share the pay and leave in the first year after the child is born or placed with their family. 


Maternity Leave

Employees (not workers) are eligible for a Statutory Maternity Leave of 52 weeks: 

  • Ordinary Maternity Leave – first 26 weeks,
  • Additional Maternity Leave – last 26 weeks.

Employees do not have to take 52 weeks but they must take two weeks’ leave after their baby is born.

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is paid for up to 39 weeks: 

  • 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings (before tax) for the first six weeks,
  • £172.48, or 90% of their average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks.

Employers can reclaim 92% of employees’ Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) from the Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).


Paternity Leave

When an employee takes time off because their partner is having a baby, adopting a child, or having a baby through a surrogacy arrangement, as the father they might be eligible for:

  • One or two weeks of paid Paternity Leave,
  • Statutory Paternity Pay paid by the employer,
  • Shared Parental Leave and Pay.


Other Types of Paid Leave

Parental Bereavement Leave

Employees can take two weeks of leave from the first day of employment for each child who has died before they turn 18 or is stillborn after 24 weeks if they are eligible. Eligible employees may be paid statutory parental bereavement pay at either £172.48 a week or 90% of average weekly earnings (whichever is lower).

Unpaid Leave

Time Off for Family and Dependents

Employees are allowed time off to deal with an emergency involving a dependent. The time off allowed is described as reasonable but there is no set amount of time as it depends on the situation. There are no limits on how many times an employee can avail of this leave.

Statutory Benefits

The paid contributions to the National insurance tax depend on the employee’s category letter.

  • Most employees have a category letter A to which employers contribute 13.8% whilst employees contribute 12%.
  • Category letter X is used for employees who do not have to pay National Insurance (i.e employees under the age of 16 do not need to make contributions).

All employers must auto-enroll their workers in the new UK workplace pension scheme. The minimum contribution is 3% from the employer, and 5% from the worker. The actual contribution to be paid by the employer is dependent on the pension scheme chosen by them.

Social security schemes in the UK include the following:

Social security scheme
National Health Service (NHS)
Sickness, unemployment, death of a partner, or retirement.
Payment of National Insurance contributions.
National Health Service (NHS)
National Health Service (NHS) Medical, dental, and optical treatment
Free of charge only to people who live in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Child benefit and Child Tax Credit schemes
Bringing up children
Not applicable
Disabled persons or carers
Taking care of the disabled
Maternity, paternity, and adoption

Health Insurance

The National Health Service (NHS), the UK’s healthcare system, provides almost all healthcare for citizens and residents. This is covered by the government and National Insurance.

Other Insurances

Accident Insurance

In the UK, employers are obliged to grant mandatory life insurance and work accident insurance to employees. The policy must cover them for at least £5 million and come from an authorized insurer. 

Unemployment Insurance

In the UK, unemployment insurance is governed through the Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) and funded by the National Insurance Contributions. 

Public Pension

In the UK, the default retirement age (forced retirement age of 65) no longer exists. Individuals can keep working after they reach the State Pension age. The law protects them against discrimination, e.g. if they apply for a new job, they do not have to provide their date of birth.

There is a state pension age, which is the earliest age an individual can start receiving their State Pension. It may be different from the age an individual can get a workplace or personal pension.

Other Statutory Benefits

Work pension

All employers must auto-enroll their employees in the new UK workplace pension scheme. The minimum contribution is 3% from the employer, and 5% from the employee.


The information contained in this Country Guide is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. The contents of this Country Guide contain general information and may not reflect current legal developments or address your situation. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in this Country Guide without seeking the advice or representation of a licensed attorney. WorkMotion Software GmbH disclaims all liability for actions you take or fail to take based on any content included in this Country Guide.

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