Doing Business in the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom comprises four nations: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Surrounded by water, with the Irish Sea and Atlantic Ocean to the west, the North Sea to the east, and the English Channel to the south, the UK built a historic empire on its ability to explore and trade overseas. Today, the UK is a highly developed economy - the fifth-largest in the world - and remains a trade gateway to Europe and the Americas. Historically reliant on agriculture, the modern UK economy is highly diversified: rapid industrialisation led to the rise of the manufacturing and service sectors in the 19th and 20th centuries before automobile, aerospace, and high-technology production grew rapidly in importance. The UK’s financial services sector is one of the most prominent in the world, and comprises around 73% of the country’s GDP. Capital city, London, is a major financial hub for thousands of international organisations and attracts business interest from across the globe. With a 2017 GDP of over $2.62 trillion, the UK remains a major global business destination, and is a member-nation of the G7, the WTO and the OECD. In 2018, the UK was ranked 7th on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Survey.

Doing Business in the United Kingdom

The UK’s economy is diverse and growing, with opportunities for investment across a variety of industries. In 2015-2016, a record number of inward investment projects created or safeguarded around 116,000 jobs, while government efforts to engage in emerging markets have reinforced the UK’s position as a global business destination.

So, why invest in the UK?

  • Diverse economyThe UK has developed a strong, expansive business infrastructure. Popular foreign direct investment targets include the the oil and gas, technology, sustainable energy, automotive, and manufacturing industries.
  • Ease of doing businessThe World Bank Survey 2016 ranked the UK as the best destination in Europe for ‘Ease of Doing Business’ (ranking 7th in the world). The UK ranks 6th in the world for ‘Protecting Minority Investors’.
  • Corporate tax rateThe UK’s tax system is favourable to foreign investment, with one of the lowest corporate tax rates  - 19% as of 2017 - in the developed world. The UK government aims to lower the corporate tax rate to 18% by 2020.
  • Skilled labour: Home to several of the world’s leading universities, the UK’s research sector supports a high standard of technological innovation and development, and attracts substantial international investment.
  • Strategic locationAs a leading financial centre, London is perfectly placed to offer foreign investors a commercial gateway to the rest of the world, along with a spectrum of connected business opportunities.

Foreign Direct Investment in the UK

The UK Government provides incentives for foreign investment in key industries, to attract foreign companies to invest in the UK.  The UK offers investors access to a wealthy and stable economy, supported by a highly educated workforce.

Starting a Company in the UK

Every time a new company starts trading in the UK, this company has to be registered as an employer with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).  This process involves providing HMRC with all the relevant company details -  including the company’s trading name, registered address details, etc - in order for them to recognize an organisation as a trading company.  More importantly this process also delivers the reference numbers which facilitate liaison with HMRC in future, and which ensure businesses are given full credit for any payments of Income Tax and National Insurance that are made in the future.

Business Banking in the UK

It is mandatory to make payments to both employees and the authorities from an in-country bank account.  Generally banks are open to the public from 9:00AM to 5:00PM Mon-Fri, 9:00AM to 3:00PM Saturdays, and closed on Sundays.

Working Days & Working Hours in the UK

The working week in the UK is Monday to Friday.  The working day for commercial offices is usually eight hours, typically from 0800 or 0900 - to 1600 or 1700.  Lunch breaks are usually one hour.

Basic Facts about United Kingdom

An island nation at the edge of western Europe, the United Kingdom is a three hundred year-old union of four separate states: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. While Northern Ireland shares its southern border with the Republic of Ireland, the UK’s next closest neighbours are France and Belgium across the English Channel - and, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark, across the North Sea. Bordered by oceans on all sides, the United Kingdom is a historic seafaring nation, with a background of international exploration and colonisation which gave rise to the British Empire, and contributed to the country’s modern-day global influence. The UK has a temperate climate with cold, wet winters and mild summers, and holds a variety of interior environments - from remote forests and mountains - to stretches of beach coastline, and bustling urban environments. As one of the world’s busiest and most populous financial hubs, its capital city, London, is an epicentre of trade and commerce, and a popular tourism destination for millions of visitors.

Full name: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Population: 65.64 million (World Bank, 2016)
Capital: London
Major Language: English
Major Religion: Christianity
Monetary Unit: 1 pound sterling = 100 pence
Main Exports: Manufactured goods, chemicals, foodstuffs
GNI per Capita: US $37,780 (World Bank, 2011)
Internet Domain: .uk
International Dialling Code: +44

UK Income Tax & Social Security (National Insurance Contributions)

The tax year in the UK runs from the 6th of April to the 5th of April the following year.

PAYE (Pay as You Earn) is the system that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) use to collect Income Tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs) from employees.

As an employer, you will have to deduct tax and NICs from your employees' pay each pay period, and pay Employer's Class 1 NICs if the employees earn above a certain threshold. Employers pay these amounts to HMRC monthly or quarterly - if you do not send the correct amount, or if you send it in late, you may have to pay interest.

The amount you can earn before you start paying income tax (personal allowance) is £11,850 in tax year 2018/19. If you earn in excess of £100,000, then for every £2 you earn, you lose £1 of personal allowance.

Worth noting: 2018/19 income tax bands for Scotland are different from the rest of the UK (England, Wales, Northern Ireland).

UK Income Tax Bands:

Tax Band ( Rest of UK Rate)

Tax Rate

Annual earnings

Monthly Earnings

Basic Rate

20%

Over £11,850 - £46,350

£987.50 - £3,862.50

Higher Rate

40%

     £46,350 - £150,000

£3,862.50 - £12,500

Additional Rate

45%

 Over £150,000

Over £12,500

Scottish Income Tax Bands:

Tax Band

Tax Rate

Annual earnings

Monthly Earnings

Starter Rate

19%

Over £11,850 - £13,850

£987.50 - £1,154.16

Basic Rate

20%

Over £13,850 - £24,000

£1,154.16 - £2,000

Intermediate Rate

21%

Over £24,000 - £43,430

£2,000 - £3,619.16

Higher Rate

41%

Over £43,430 - £150,000

£3,619.16 - £12,500

Additional Rate

46%

Over £150,000

Over £12,500

STBV (Short Term Business Visitors in the UK)

The Short Term Business Visitor (STBV) arrangement is a relaxation of the strict Income Tax (PAYE) withholding obligations that arise on UK employers in respect of any employees from overseaswho spend more than 30 days working in the UK in any UK tax year.  The STBV arrangement removes the strict PAYE withholding obligations in respect of certain employees from overseas, providing various conditions are met. A more detailed overview of the STBV arrangements is available in a separate communication.

STBV Tax Calculation Example:

Monthly paid employee – annual earnings 

£96,000.00

Gross pay in month  

£8,000.00

Less Personal Allowance    

£988.25(£11,859/12)

Taxable pay in the month    

£7,011.75

Tax

£2,875.00 x 20%                      = £575.00

£4,136.00 x 40%                      = £1,654.40

Total Tax                                  = £2,229.40

Net Pay (no Social Security)   = £5,770.60

Social Security Contributions in the UK

As an employer, you pay National Insurance contributions (NICs) on the earnings you provide to your employees.  Earnings include not only cash amounts but benefits, such as providing your employees with company cars.

Most workers (both employed and self-employed) also pay NICs on their earnings, in addition to Income Tax. Many of these contributions go towards building up workers’ entitlements to social security benefits such as Jobseeker’s Allowance and the State Pension.

The tax and NICs due on your employees’ earnings are calculated and deducted at the same time through the PAYE (Pay As You Earn) system when you operate your regular payroll. You then pay them to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). However, NICs that apply to many employer-provided benefits are calculated separately after the end of the tax year.

The UK government has introduced a new law which will require all employers to enrol their workers into a qualifying workplace pension scheme if they are not already in one.  At present, many workers fail to take up valuable pension benefits because they do not make an application to join their employer's scheme. Automatic enrolment is designed to overcome this issue. 

Although automatic enrolment came in from 1 October 2012, individual employers' duties will be introduced gradually over the following five years, and will be based on the employer's size.  All employers regardless of size will be involved in the scheme from October 2017 at the latest.

For a defined contribution scheme, the amount of money paid-in by the employee, their employer, and by the government from tax relief, is worked out as a percentage of total earnings. 'Tax relief' means that some of the money that would have gone to the government in the form of tax now goes into the pension pot instead.

The government has set a minimum percentage that has to be contributed in total - this translates to the employee contribution, the employer contribution, and the tax relief, added together.  This minimum increases gradually and is 2% from October 2012 to September 2017, 5% from October 2017 to September 2018 and 8% from October 2018 onwards.

Reporting Tax & Social Security in the UK

Monthly:

On a monthly basis PAYE must be paid over to HMRC. Payment must reach HMRC by 22nd of the following month if sent electronically. If you operate PAYE (Pay as You Earn) there are a number of key tasks you must complete in the period around the end of the tax year on 5 April.

Yearly:

Under Real Time Information (RTI) requirements, reports are sent to HMRC in real time, so HMRC has to be notified “on or before” each payment is made to employees or pensioners. Each employee still has to be provided with a year-end P60 form summarizing their earnings and tax deducted in the previous tax year.

PSA – PAYE for Settlement Agreements

A PSA is another agreement with HMRC for situations in which a company encounters some Income Tax and National Insurance liability on behalf of its employees. This is mainly used where there is a staff entertaining event, although it can be used for relocation expenses (over the HMRC limit for allowable expenses), and other irregular items of expenditure. Again it is an easement to make life simpler for both the company and HMRC. It may be the case that you would not require this immediately, although as you take on more staff, there may be some staff entertaining as you welcome new staff to the business. Again, having a PSA is a good thing going forward, as it demonstrates that you are aware of your obligations.

Taxable Benefits 

In situations where an employer provides taxable benefits in addition to salary, these benefits can be reported and taxed in one of two ways:

  • Payrolling benefitsA business can register for voluntary payrolling of benefits, and include those benefits in the taxable pay of each employee through payroll each month. Registration for voluntary payrolling of benefits must be completed prior to the beginning of the tax year.
  • P11D FormAlternatively, employers can report any benefits provided to their employees at the end of the tax year using form P11D. The majority of benefits provided to employees have to be reported on a P11D, including medical cover, mileage payments made in excess of the approved HMRC rates, company cars and so on. In addition to this, a benefit summary form P11D(B) has to be prepared and submitted to HMRC by 6th July following the end of the tax year.

Important tax dates and deadlines during the year are as follows:

Deadline

Task

“On or before” each payment is made to employees or pensioners

Full Payment Submission (FPS) must be sent to HMRC confirming the details of any payments made

19-Apr

Outstanding PAYE tax and Class 1 NICs - postal payments must reach your HMRC Accounts Office

22-Apr

Outstanding PAYE tax and Class 1 NIC - cleared electronic payments reach HMRC bank account.

31-May

Give each relevant employee a form P60

1-June

For employees whose benefits are taxed through the payroll, give them details of benefits you’ve payrolled, including the cash equivalent of each benefit.

06-Jul

File expenses and benefits annual return (forms P11D and P11D(b)) with HMRC if applicable - give a copy to your employees.

19-Jul

Class 1A NICs - postal payments must reach your HMRC Accounts Office

22-Jul

Class 1A NICs - cleared electronic payments must reach HMRC bank account

19-Jul

Class 1A NICs - postal payments must reach your HMRC Accounts Office

22-Jul

Class 1A NICs - cleared electronic payments must reach HMRC bank account

New Employees in the UK

Employers must follow several steps when hiring new employees in the UK, including:

  • Establishing PAYE requirements: Employees who earn more than £112 per week must be paid through PAYE - unless they are self-employed.
  • Obtaining employee information: To set an employee up on the right tax code, certain information is required, including National Insurance number, previous employment leave date, and tax paid in current year. The information can be obtained from the employee’s P45 form, or alternatively, HMRC’s ‘Starter Checklist’.
  • Deducting student loan: Some employees will have continuing student loan repayment obligations - the P45 will inform the employer if this is the case.
  • Registering new employeeNew employees should be registered with HMRC with a Full Payment Submission (FPS), containing all relevant tax details. 

Leavers & P45s in the UK

When an employee leaves a company in the UK, the employer must complete a form P45 confirming:

  • Leaving date
  • Full name
  • Home address
  • National Insurance number
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • Works/payroll number
  • The employee’s tax code

Employers also have to provide:

  • The employee’s overall pay and tax totals for the tax year so far, including from any previous employments during the year and
  • The employee’s pay and tax figures relating only to their work for you during the tax year, if these differ from the employee's overall totals for the year

A copy of the P45 form is given to the employee. HMRC are notified that an employee has left a company by including a date of leaving in the next RTI submission.

Payroll in the United Kingdom

Employers are legally responsible for completing all payroll tasks in the UK. An employer may choose to outsource payroll to a payroll provider, or operate it in-house using payroll software. Most employers in the UK process payroll using PAYE: HMRC’s system to make National Insurance and Income Tax deductions from employee wages.

Like other territories, residency status is relevant to tax liability in the UK. While non-residents pay tax only on income earned within the UK, residents must pay tax on all UK income and foreign income. With this in mind, businesses with international employee populations must take steps to remain in compliance with the UK’s tax laws. In some cases, it may be advisable for foreign businesses to engage a payroll service provider to meet their international compliance needs by developing a global payroll solution. Payroll providers represent a way for foreign businesses to achieve compliance quickly, while also delivering pay efficiently to their employee populations.   

In the UK, PAYE payroll runs the 6th to the 5th of the following month. Employers must calculate tax, National Insurance contributions, and other deductions, issue employees with payslips (it is legally acceptable to issue payslips online in the UK), and make an FPS report to HMRC on or before payday each month.

Reports

Payroll reports must be kept for at least 7 years.

 

Employment Law in the UK

UK Holiday Entitlement & Holiday Pay Calculations

Most employees are legally entitled to paid holidays/annual leave in the UK.  A worker's statutory paid holiday entitlement is 5.6 weeks (28 days for a worker working a five-day week).  This can include public and bank holidays.  The entitlement for part-time workers is calculated on a pro-rata basis.

Statutory Maternity Pay and Leave in the UK

  • If an employee is expecting a baby, she may be entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP).  This replaces her normal earnings to help her take time off around the time of the birth.
  • Whether the employer will have to pay SMP to an expectant employee depends on how long they've worked for that employer and how much they earn.
  • Payments of SMP count as earnings therefore the employer must deduct tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs) from them in the usual way.
  • An employer will normally be able to recover some or all of the SMP payments made to the employee.
  • An employee who is expecting a baby has the right to 26 weeks of 'Ordinary Maternity Leave' and 26 weeks 'Additional Maternity Leave' - making one year in total. As long as they give you proper notice they can take this no matter how long they've worked for you, how many hours they work or how much they're paid.

Statutory Maternity Pay Rates in the UK

For the first six weeks the employer must pay the employee SMP at the rate of 90 per cent of their average weekly earnings.

For the next 33 weeks you must pay them the lower of the following:

  •  £145.18 or
  • 90 per cent of their average weekly earnings
  •  If the employer’s total National Insurance payments were £45,000 a year or less for the previous year, they will be able to recover 103% of the SMP.  This is to compensate the employer for the NICs they would have had to pay on the SMP.
  • If the employer’s National Insurance payments were more than £45,000 for the previous tax, year they will be able to recover 92% of the SMP that they have paid.
  • The employer can recover SMP by deducting it from your monthly PAYE (Pay as You Earn) payments. Or you can ask HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for funding in advance.

Paternity Leave Entitlement in the UK 

An employee is entitled to Ordinary Statutory Paternity Pay (OSPP) if their partner has a baby or adopts a child. This scheme replaces their normal earnings and helps them take time off to care for the child or support the mother.

As an employer, whether you have to pay Ordinary Statutory Paternity Pay depends on how long an employee has worked for you, how much they earn, and when the baby is due or the date of adoption. The employee will also have to provide the employer with a declaration covering family commitment and give you notice of when they want the payment to start.

Payments of OSPP count as earnings. The employer must deduct tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs) from them in the usual way.

Receiving Paternity Pay

The employer will normally be able to recover some or all of the OSPP you pay. The employee may be entitled to ordinary paternity leave and OSPP for birth if they have responsibility for the baby's upbringing, are taking time off to support the mother, or care for the baby and they're either:

  • The baby's biological father, or
  • The mother's husband or partner - including a female partner in a same sex couple

Where a couple adopts a child, the partner, male or female, who is not claiming Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) may be able to claim OSPP.  The employee may be entitled to ordinary paternity leave and OSPP for adoption if they’re either:

  • Adopting a child with their partner, or
  • The partner of someone adopting a child on their own

In this situation, the adoption must also be being arranged through an adoption agency in the UK, or for adoption from abroad the adopter has to have received Official Notification.

Ordinary Paternity Leave in the UK

The employee is entitled to ordinary paternity leave if both of the following apply:

  • They've worked for you continuously for at least 26 weeks up to and into the 15th week before the date the baby's due, or 26 weeks into the week the adoption agency told the adopter they had been matched with a child
  • They continue to work for you until the date the baby is born, or the date the adopted child is placed

The date an adopted child is expected to be placed is shown on the matching certificate from the adoption agency.

Your employee is entitled to take one or two weeks' ordinary paternity leave within 56 days of the date of the baby's birth or the date an adopted child is placed with the adopter. They can't take odd days off and if they take two weeks they must take them together.

Ordinary Statutory Paternity Pay (OSPP) in the UK

If the employee is entitled to ordinary paternity leave they may also be entitled to OSPP for the period of their leave.  They'll be entitled to OSPP if they have average earnings at least equal to the NICs Lower Earnings Limit (LEL) - £116 a week for 2018-19.

Your employee should inform the employer that they will be taking ordinary paternity leave by the 15th week before the date the baby's due, or within seven days of the date the adopter was told they'd been matched with a child. And they should give 28 days' notice of when they want their OSPP to start.

OSPP Rates 

If your employee is entitled to OSPP, you must pay them the lower of:

  • £145.18 - from 6 April 2018, or
  • 90 per cent of their average weekly earnings

The employer will be able to recover at least 92% of the OSPP that they have paid.  The recovery rates and qualifying conditions are the same as for the SMP (see above). If the employee's earnings are below the Lower Earning Limit, or they're not entitled to OSPP for some other reason, they may be entitled to other financial support from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Statutory Sick Pay in the UK 

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is paid to employees who are unable to work because of illness.  SSP is paid at the same time and in the same way as you would pay wages for the same period.

An employer is responsible for paying SSP to employees who meet certain qualifying conditions.  A record must be kept to show any SSP the employer has paid on the employee's form P11 Deductions Working Sheet - or equivalent payroll record.

If you keep paying your employees their normal wage when they're sick - and you pay them at least as much as the SSP they'd get - you don't have to operate the SSP scheme. You must put your sickness policy in a written statement of employment particulars and give a copy to all employees who have worked for you for at least a month.

SSP isn't payable straight away.  The first three qualifying days (days the employee normally works for you) of a Period of Incapacity for Work (PIW) are called 'waiting days' when SSP isn't payable: SSP is payable from the first qualifying day after the three waiting days.  However, if several PIWs are linked, the waiting days only apply to the first PIW.

If you have got an employee who is off sick for at least four consecutive days, but who does not qualify for SSP, you must complete form SSP1 and give it to them within 7 days of them notifying sickness. They can then claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) from their local Jobcentre Plus.

  • The weekly rate of SSP from 6th April 2018 is £92.05.

  • To be entitled to SSP for any period of incapacity for work (PIW) commencing on or after 6th April 2018 (and not linked to an earlier period) employees will have to average weekly earnings of  at least £116.00.

UK National Service in the UK

There is no compulsory national service in United Kingdom.

 

Employee Benefits in the UK

Payrolling of Benefits in Kind (BiK)

An important legislation change is now in effect for any employers who provide benefits to their employees, and who either report these on forms P11D at the end of the tax year, or who currently tax these benefits through the payroll.

If you are intending to payroll benefits and expenses, or if you are doing so already, you must now register them with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) using the online Payrolling Benefits in Kind (PBIK) service. If you use this service and payroll benefits and expenses, you will not have to report them on a P11D. Any current payrolling of benefits schemes (private medical benefit etc.) can no longer be used, and approval for these schemes will be required going forward. Since the 2016/2017 tax year, HMRC no longer accepts informal reports of employee benefits, sometimes referred to as lists.

If you use this service, the only benefits you will not be able to payroll for 2017/2018 are:

  • Employer-provided living accommodation
  • Interest free and low interest (beneficial) loans

If you have previously been payrolling these benefits informally you can continue to do so but you must still report them on a P11D.

From the start of the 2017/18 tax year, you can choose to account for the tax on the benefits in kind (BiKs) that  you provide to your employees through PAYE each payday.

You will need to register before 6th April to start payrolling for the following tax year. This is because HMRC will need to amend your employees’ tax codes in advance to remove any BiKs previously included.

For payrolling purposes, the cash equivalent of a BiK is calculated in the same way as BiK reported on a form P11D - this has not changed. If you are not sure what the value of the BiK is at the start of the tax year (or example, if you expect to renew your premium part way through the tax year) then you can make an estimate of the cash equivalent of the BiK.

When your employee leaves their job, their BiK will usually stop, and only occasionally will it continue beyond their leaving date.

The value of a BiK may sometimes change part way through the tax year. This can be for a number of reasons. If this happens then you need to recalculate the cash equivalent of the benefit. This means you recalculate the taxable amount of the BiK to add to your employees’ wage payments.

PAYE regulations prevent employers from deducting more than 50% in tax from an employee’s pay. This is called the overriding limit and ensures that employees are not left with too little pay to cover their living costs.

In some circumstances, the provision of a high value BiK/expense, combined with low pay, could mean that the employee takes home little or nothing - for example, where an employee is being paid Statutory Sick Pay. Employers are allowed to stop payrolling BiKs where payment of the taxable amount of BiK means that the tax payable will exceed 50% of the employee’s cash pay. To protect employees and comply with the regulations, the following options are available:

Option 1: Exclude the employee from payrolling

Employers may use the Online Payrolling Benefit In Kind Service and exclude the employee. If you exclude the employee, the BiK that they receive will be reintroduced to their tax code.

Excluding an employees means that, as an employer, you will be required to send a P11D after the end of the tax year. If you wish to recommence payrolling in the next tax year, you will have to wait until after you have sent your P11D, as it is a trigger for amending tax codes. To recommence payrolling, review the exclusion list to remove the employee.

Option 2: Carry tax forward

Do not exclude the employee in the Online Payrolling Benefit In Kind Service. Carry forward the taxable amount of BIK into future pay periods.

Employee Expenses in the UK

It is important for your staff to know what is expected of them when they travel on business, what they are allowed to claim, and perhaps more importantly from a compliance perspective, what they are not allowed to claim.  

Expense Exemption System

HMRC’s previous dispensation system has now been replaced with a series of ‘exemptions’ - but previous dispensations and bespoke subsistence rates may continue if your business arranged them with HMRC between 6 April 2011 and 5 April 2016. Bespoke rates expire 5 years after the date they were agreed.

Like dispensations, the exemption system removes the requirement to report certain business expenses such as travel, phone bills, entertainment, and uniform and tool costs. To qualify for an exemption, an employer must be:

  • Paying a flat rate to employees as part of their earnings. The rate can be one of HMRC’s ‘benchmark’ rates, or an approved ‘bespoke’ rate.
  • Reimbursing employees actual business costs.  

Employees cannot check their own expenses - another member of the company must ensure the claims are appropriate. Proof of expenses - bills and receipts - must be kept in case records need to be checked. Employers must still deduct and pay tax and NI, and report to HMRC, any other expenses and benefits provided to employees.  

If you are paying one of HMRC’s benchmark rates for expenses, there is no need to formally apply for an exemption. If you intend to pay a bespoke rate however, you will need to apply to HMRC to do so, and provide evidence that the rate reflects your employees’ actual expenses.

Employment and Labour Law in the UK

Employment laws in the UK govern the relationship between employers and employees, and set out certain protections and minimum standards in the workplace, these include minimum wage, entitlement to statutory leave including holiday, sickness and maternity and paternity leave, and compensation for workplace injuries. UK employment laws are also in place to ensure equality in the workplace, protect employees from prejudice and harassment, and govern employment termination procedures.

The UK’s labour laws are drawn from constitutional law, contract law, collective bargaining agreements, and EU law (until Brexit). The main recourse for the resolution of disputes is an Employment Tribunal. Important statutes in UK employment law include:

  • The National Minimum Wage Act 1998
  • The Working Time Regulations 1998
  • The Employment Rights Act 1996
  • The Pensions Act 2008
  • The Equality Act 2010

Employee Benefits in the UK

The UK’s social security system provides employees with certain statutory benefits including pension funds, unemployment funds, and healthcare. Some employers may offer additional benefits, or BiK through salary sacrifice schemes, which often include a level of tax relief. Examples of BiK in the UK include:

  • Childcare vouchers
  • Company car
  • Travel allowance
  • Relocation allowance
  • Mobile phone/laptop
  • Children’s educational vouchers
  • Enhanced medical care
  • Enhanced pension scheme
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Professional development/training
  • Stock/share options
  • Performance bonuses

 

UK Visas and UK Work Permits

Whether or not you need to obtain a visa before you travel to the UK depends on your nationality and the reason you want to travel to the country. You will not need a visa or a work permit if you hold a passport issued by the UK or any other country in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland. If you are travelling to the UK from outside the EEA or Switzerland, then you will usually require either a visa or an entry certificate.  Further information on this can be found on the UK Home Office Border Agency website http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/general-info/.

You can apply for a visitor visa to the UK at visa application centres in any country. You must apply for any other type of entry clearance in the country or territory where you live. Most work-based visa categories are part of the UK's points-based system for immigration.  If you want to visit the UK for a short time as a businessperson, sportsperson or entertainer, you may be able to do so as a visitor. Visa categories for employees coming to the UK include:

  • High-value MigrantsInvestors, entrepreneurs and exceptionally talented people can apply to enter or stay in the UK without needing a job offer - but you will need to pass a points-based assessment.
  • Skilled WorkersIf you have been offered a skilled job in the UK and your prospective employer is willing to sponsor you, you can apply to come or remain here to do that job.
  • Temporary WorkersIf an employer in the UK is willing to sponsor you, or if you are a national of a country that participates in the youth mobility scheme, you may be eligible to come and work in the UK for a short period.
  • Other Work Visa CategoriesYou can also apply to work in the UK as a domestic worker; as the sole representative of an overseas firm; or as a representative of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation.
  • For Workers and Businesspersons from TurkeyTurkish citizens can benefit from a European agreement with Turkey if they want to establish themselves in business in the UK, or if they are already working here legally.
  • For Commonwealth citizens with UK AncestryIf you are a Commonwealth citizen and at least one of your grandparents was born in the UK, you can apply to come here to work.

 

Further Information

For more information, or assistance with United Kingdom payroll enquiries please contact:

The activpayroll Global Payroll Team

Email: activGlobalSales@activpayroll.com 
Tel: +44 (0) 1224 860 800

For more information, or assistance with United Kingdom tax enquiries please contact:

The activpayroll Global Mobility Team

Email: graham.mckechnie@activpayroll.com 
Tel: +44 (0) 131 240 4300

 

About this Payroll & Tax Overview

About this Payroll & Tax overview

Please note that this document gives general guidance only and should not be regarded as an authoritative or complete statement of the law, regulations or tax position in any country. You should always seek specific advice for each specific situation. This document should not be relied upon as professional advice and activpayroll accepts no liability for reliance on its contents.

 

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