United Kingdom

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£ (GBP)

Work Hours


The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, often referred to as the UK or Britain, is made up of the countries of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The UK is a leading member of the G7, G20, and NATO, among other global organizations. . Services are by far the largest segment of the British economy. London, the country’s capital and largest city, is a global hub of financial and commercial services and cultural influence. The UK was an original member of the modern European Union, but retained the British Pound as its currency after the EU issued the euro. In 2016, the UK became the first country to leave the EU with its withdrawal formally complete at the end of 2020. With strong ties to the United States and Asia, a continuing relationship with the EU, and a highly organized and technologically advanced economy, the UK is a strategic location for international expansion into Europe.

Employment contracts in the UK can be oral, written or set out in an employee handbook, offer letter or collective agreement. All employers in Britain must provide employees with a written statement of particulars, which includes a principal statement. The principal statement must include:

  • the name of the employer,

  • the name and job title of the employee,

  • a description of the work to be performed and the location where it will be performed,

  • the start date and end date (if the contract is for a fixed term),

  • the length and conditions of the employee’s probation period if there is one,

  • salary and frequency of payment,

  • hours and days of work, and if the employee is expected to work overtime, nights or on Sundays,

  • leave and any other benefits to which the employee is entitled, and

  • training the employee must complete.

The standard work week in the UK is 40 hours over five days and may not exceed an average of 48 hours averaged over 17 weeks. Some types of work that require 24-hour staffing are exempt from the maximum. Employees over 18 years old can voluntarily opt out of the 48-hour maximum.

Eligible employees receive up to 28 weeks of paid sick leave in the UK. If the employee is sick for more than seven days in a row, including weekends and holidays, the employee should provide the employer a note from a doctor. Employees may be eligible for sick pay and other benefits while on sick leave.

Female employees are entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave in the UK, 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave followed by 26 weeks of additional maternity leave. The mother is not required to use the full 52 weeks of leave, but she must take at least two weeks immediately after giving birth. Eligible employees can receive Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) for up to 39 weeks. SMP usually begins at the same time as maternity leave. Male employees receive one to two weeks of paternity leave in the UK, beginning after the child’s birth. The male employee may be eligible for paternity leave pay. Parents are also eligible for paid leave when their new born receives uninterrupted neo-natal care for at least 7 days.

The UK has a minimum wage. Employers are not required to pay bonuses but often do.

Employees receive 5.6 weeks of paid annual leave in the UK, which is 28 days of leave per year for employees who work a five-day, 40-hour work week. Bank holidays may be included in the annual leave or may be granted as additional paid days off from work.

In the UK, the public holidays are:

  • New Year's Day

  • Good Friday

  • Early May Bank Holiday

  • Spring Bank Holiday

  • Christmas Day

  • Boxing Day

  • Substitute Bank Holiday for Christmas Day

Scotland and Northern Ireland each have additional holidays.

The UK has universal heatlhcare. Some companies also provide supplementary private medical insurance as an employee benefit.

The notice period for terminating an employee in the UK is between one and 12 weeks, depending on the employee’s length of service. In practice, employers write longer notice periods into contracts. Employers may also provide payment in lieu of notice and terminate the employee immediately if the employment contract provides for it, or if the employer and employee agree on this arrangement. Employers are required to pay severance in some circumstances.

  • Local Laws & Regulations

    We understand that local laws and regulations change and sourcing an accurate reference guide is not easy. Our data is researched and verified by our team of local international Employment Attorneys, HR and Benefit Professionals and Tax Accountants through our Atlas team and consultants, to ensure information up-to-date and accurate.

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