Global HIRING & employment

Hire employees in the United Kingdom in 90 seconds

Normally, setting up a corporate entity abroad is a long, expensive process. But through Rippling’s EOR entities, you can start hiring and working with people abroad quickly and compliantly.

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British Pound (GBP)



Time Zones

Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), UTC+0

1. Hiring in the United Kingdom

Here’s what you need to know about hiring employees in the United Kingdom

Onboarding in the UK usually takes a day or more. Contracts must be in writing and signed by both parties. With Rippling EOR, you have access to a localized employment agreement.

Common Hiring Mistakes to Avoid 

1. Misclassifying employees and independent contractors

Like most jurisdictions, the United Kingdom differentiates between employees and self-employed contractors. But all employees and some contractors have the status of “workers.” Although nonemployed workers don’t have the full suite of employment rights enjoyed by employees, they are more protected than independent contractors. For example, all workers are entitled to the national minimum wage and holiday pay. Despite carefully drafted contracts, an independent contractor can be found to be an employee if the true reality of their working practices indicates this. The burden of proof is on employers to show that their contractors don’t qualify as employees.

2. Failing to take TUPE into account

Employees can be automatically transferred to a new employer under circumstances like an asset sale, or when a service is outsourced. This is set out by the UK’s Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (known as TUPE). TUPE also requires the employer to inform and consult with employee representatives prior to a transfer, which can take weeks to comply with—and failure to do so can be costly.

3. Not complying with the UK’s mandatory parental leave rights

Similar to other European countries, the UK entitles employees of all genders to take paid time off on the birth or adoption of a child. Depending on the length of their leave, they can return to their previous position. More recently, parents gained the right to share parental leave between them. They are also entitled to unpaid leave in certain circumstances (e.g. parental and dependents leave). Clear family leave policies help manage potential pitfalls. Managers are obliged not to discriminate against, or retaliate against, employees who use their statutory entitlements.

4. Failing to follow a fair dismissal process

When dismissing an employee with two years or more of continuous service, employers must have a fair reason, and follow a fair process. Otherwise, employers risk a significant fine, based on the claimant's age and length of service, plus compensation based on their financial loss. Even when the employee has less than two years’ service, a dismissal could be found to be discriminatory.

5. Relying on template restrictive covenants intended for other jurisdictions

If you import restrictive covenants from other jurisdictions, they are unlikely to be enforceable in the UK—unless you modify them. Restrictive covenants are considered to be a direct restraint of trade, unless they go no further than is reasonably necessary to protect an employer’s legitimate business interests. To give restrictive covenants the best chance of being enforceable in the UK, take care when drafting them, and take a customized approach. Tailor the duration and scope of the restrictions to the employer’s needs and the employee’s role or circumstances. UK courts won’t entirely redraft a covenant, but they can strike out certain words (known as the “blue pencil test.”).

6. Not being GDPR-compliant

Even after leaving the European Union, the UK has continued to uphold the EU’s GDPR data protection regulations. Known as UK-GDPR, this regime establishes rules regarding why and how employers can process employees’ personal data.

2. Benefits

Mandatory benefits

  • Pension scheme. Employers must contribute at least 3% of each worker’s salary toward their pension plan, while employees must contribute a minimum of 5%. These amounts can be increased, but never decreased.
  • Paid time off. This includes holidays, sick pay, parental leave, and bereavement leave.

The UK’s government-funded healthcare system, the National Health Service, covers care for all citizens, regardless of employment status or insurance. However, some employers offer private healthcare insurance, which can enable employees to access non-urgent healthcare more quickly.

3. Pay

Rippling EOR ensures you’re compliant with minimum wage requirements federally and across the UK

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Minimum wage

The UK’s hourly minimum wage for employees aged 23 and above is £9.50 (2022). It’s updated annually in April.

Age of employee

Hourly minimum wage (£)

23 and above









Employers are not legally obliged to pay overtime, but the average pay for the total hours an employee works must not be less than the minimum wage.

Working Week


Payroll Frequency

UK employees are typically paid monthly.

4. Terminations


Employers can only dismiss an employee without notice in cases of gross misconduct. Otherwise, the minimum notice period for terminating an employee is either the statutory minimum, or the period stated in the employment contract–whichever is longer. You can pay them out instead of giving notice.

Employment period

Statutory notice period

1 month to 2 years

1 week’s notice

2 years and above

1 week’s notice for each year of service, up to a maximum of 12


Employees who are laid off (in the UK, referred to as “made redundant”) must be paid severance if they have worked for the employer for 2 years or more. The amount is determined by their age and tenure. 

Age of employee

Severance amount


Half a week’s pay


One week’s pay for every full year at the company


1.5 weeks’ pay for every full year at the company

The weekly amount is capped at £571 and the length of service is capped at 20 years.

5. Time Off

Rippling EOR automatically flags non-compliant sick leave policies and tells you how to fix it. If you'd like to give your employees more leave to match policies in other countries, you can do that too.

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Sick Leave

  • Employers may establish their own scheme to vary the compensation paid out to employees who are unwell. But employees can receive up to 28 weeks of sick leave with Statutory Sick Pay (compensated at £99.35 per week, after the first three days of absence).
  • Employees must produce a medical certificate for sick leave longer than 7 days.

Maternity Leave

Employees are entitled to 52 weeks of statutory maternity leave. They are not required to use the full amount but they cannot use less than 2 weeks’ leave. Statutory maternity pay is paid for a 39-week period at a rate of 90% of the employee’s normal weekly earnings for the first 6 weeks, and then at a flat rate (currently £156.66 per week or 90% of their average weekly earnings, whichever is lower) for the remaining 33 weeks.

Paternity Leave

Regardless of gender, employees are entitled to 2 weeks of paid leave after the birth or adoption of their partner’s child. They receive 90% of their average weekly earnings (or statutory paternity pay of £156.66, whichever amount is lower). Employees are only entitled to this leave after 26 continuous weeks of employment, and the benefit must be used within 1 year of the birth.

Share Parental Leave

After adoption or the birth of a child, parents may be entitled to share 50 weeks of shared parental leave (the first 37 weeks are paid). This must be taken within 1 year of the child’s adoption or birth.

Paid Time Off

  • Jury Service. Full-time employees are entitled to unpaid leave for jury duty, or when acting as a witness in court.
  • Bereavement Leave. If an employee’s child under the age of 18 dies, they are entitled to 2 weeks of paid leave. For other family members, the law is less clear—many employers offer 3 days or more in the case of a dependent’s death.

6. Employer Costs

National Insurance (Social Security)




Apprentice Levy




7. Employer Taxes

Employee income tax

Individual income tax varies from a basic rate of 20% up to 45% for employees earning above £150,001.

8. Holidays

Full-time employees are entitled to 5.6 weeks of paid leave per year, including bank holidays (public holidays).

9. Contractor Regulations

The UK’s off-payroll rules (known as IR35) ensure that contractors pay the same amount of income tax and National Insurance contributions as employees. If a contractor would be classified as an employee if they were directly providing their services to the client (rather working through their own limited company), the employer will be responsible for paying the evaded taxes.

The burden of proof rests on employers. To avoid fees, taxes, and fines, employers must ensure contractors don’t qualify as employees through “tests” of employment, including the following:

  • Substitution: The employer does not allow the contractor to substitute their responsibilities to someone else
  • Mutual obligation: There is a binding commitment for the employer to offer work and for the contractor to offer their services
  • Control: The employer controls when and how the contractor executes their work

The UK’s tax authority offers a Check Employment Status for Tax tool to determine status.


Contractors provide their own equipment. Employers who provide contractors with equipment risk falling foul of IR35 rules.


Employers and contractors agree to payment per hour or by project, and to their chosen payment structure: pre-payment for a service, payment upon completion, or partial payment (paying a deposit, followed by the remainder of the fee after the project is completed).

Unlike employees, contractors are responsible for submitting their own tax and insurance payments.  

Employee Benefits

Contractors are not entitled to employee benefits such as statutory sick pay, parental leave, or minimum notice periods.


Contractors can provide their services to other businesses.


Independent contractors should not be restricted from providing services to any other business.


There is no limit to how long employers can engage the same contractor, provided they are compliant with IR35 laws.

Rippling and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any related activities or transactions.

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