UK Hiring and Recruiting

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Hiring and Recruiting In the UK

Bradford Jacobs’ proven success in global talent recruitment as a Professional Employer Organisation (PEO) and Recruitment Process Organisation (RPO) means we will source top-level staff from any industry and any country for companies looking to upgrade and enhance their international expansion. The global reach of our recruitment specialists enables us to find the perfect fit for every role.

Bradford Jacobs’ expertise in international recruitment services is indispensable for expansion into the United Kingdom. Post-Brexit the UK will suffer from skill shortages in certain sectors, making it critical to find the right talent to fill these roles. Bradford Jacobs’ comprehensive knowledge of all UK employment sectors, and understanding of the culture and customs, will guarantee an untroubled transition.

Challenges when expanding into the United Kingdom

The UK is a magnet for foreign investment and expansion and is very much ‘open for business’ – but companies looking to recruit, or set-up subsidiaries, must be prepared to overcome challenges. These include legal structures for market entry, registration, opening bank accounts, understanding taxation, payroll and employment regulations.

Without the additional support of a PEO, Employer of Record (EOR) and global recruitment Organization such as Bradford Jacobs, companies moving into the UK might need a designated department just to deal with these issues – wasting time and money.

The recruitment process in the United Kingdom

Checks that should be made during the recruitment process include confirming the applicant has the right to work in the UK, which includes EU citizens since Brexit. Employers can check for a criminal record through the Disclosure and Barring Service.

The UK has strong laws on what employees can be asked in interviews. Employers are not entitled to ask candidates about ‘protected characteristics’ such as relationships and children or their date of birth unless age restrictions apply to the job.

How do you hire UK employees?

Hiring employees in the UK demands a structured and meticulous approach that would be handled more efficiently by a global talent recruitment organization such as Bradford Jacobs. Initially, employers would have to locate the most talented candidates then comply with UK laws and regulations to onboard them. Employers must also draw up an employment contract covering job title, working hours, holidays, sick pay, pension contributions, notice period and termination and provide the employee with this within two months of starting work.

Facts on hiring in the UK

  • Full-time, casual, part-time and agency employees are entitled to the national minimum wage
  • Statutory paid holiday leave is a maximum of 28 days
  • Minimum Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is £95.85 each week
  • Employers must secure the health and safety of employees, including home workers
  • Statutory maternity and paternity leave applies to all workers
  • Disciplinary rules and procedures must be provided in writing to staff
  • After working 26 weeks continuous weeks, workers can request flexi-time arrangements

UK Work Culture

UK workplace culture is among the most relaxed in the world with socializing playing a significant role in office life. After-work bonding, bringing birthday cakes to the office are regular features in a mix of interaction, behavior and attitudes. Employee engagement, between staff as well as with management, is another feature in an atmosphere where constructive criticism is encouraged.

London, the hub of the UK’s financial and commercial sectors, is associated with a ‘work hard, play hard’ culture … competitive but jovial, in supportive environments that encourage a team ethic.

What employment laws exist in the UK?

UK employment laws cover a wide range of issues including age discrimination, bullying and harassment, disability, discrimination based on race, religion, sexuality or gender, dismissal and employee grievances, employment contracts, equal pay, holiday pay, minimum wage, parental leave, redundancy and working hours. Bradford Jacobs ensure client companies remain fully compliant with UK employment laws – a vital service following Brexit. For UK employment law updates check

How do you onboard UK employees?

The process of onboarding existing employees into the UK, or recruiting new staff in-country, begins with sourcing suitable candidates. The parent company then has to deal with moving the staff, dealing with migration, visa and work permits and ensuring they are compliant with all local laws and regulations.

The most efficient and effective method of onboarding employees is through global recruitment companies such as Bradford Jacobs, who manage every stage of the process from finding the employee to seeing their first check is paid on time.

What are the benefits of UK Hiring Outsourcing?

Cost saving, time saving and more … outsourcing global talent recruitment streamlines international expansion into the UK market and makes it feasible to be up-and-running in days. Benefits include:

  • A broader and more effective talent search and reduced recruitment costs
  • Control capital expenditure
  • Start new projects quickly
  • Focus on core business
  • Mitigate risks with ‘easy in, easy out’ operation
  • Improve flexibility
  • Utilize recruitment company’s global experience and expertise
  • Explore markets without setting up subsidiary or in-country entity
  • Scale your global workforce to fit intentions

Do what you do best, outsource the rest … utilize Bradford Jacobs’ global recruiting and Employer of Record services taking care of selection, onboarding, payroll, compliance and providing ongoing support.

Working with a recruitment agency

Recruitment agencies match candidates to job vacancies, working with companies directly to help fill their roles by streamlining the job-seeking and recruitment process. Initially a company contacts the agency with details of the role to be filled. The agency either finds candidates from their database or posts the vacancy online before advising the company of their suggestions for interview.

Bradford Jacobs, as a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) and Recruitment Process Organization (RPO), fulfils all of these functions but then takes the next step with its Employer of Record (EOR) operation, by handling all admin relating to payroll, contracts, tax, insurance and other compliance issues.

Employment Contracts in the UK

The Employment Rights Act (1996) stipulates that employers must provide employees with a written statement detailing the terms and conditions of their employment within two months of starting work. The legal requirements of a UK contract are quite basic but in practice may be more comprehensive. Terms of an agreed contract cannot be changed without the employee’s permission.

Legally, it is assumed employees act in their employer’s best interests, for example displaying confidentiality over business activities and intellectual property rights.

Apart from exempt sectors such as transport, employees cannot work more than 48 hours weekly, averaged over 17 weeks, with the following breaks:

  • 20-minutes rest every six hours; 11 hours every 24 hours and 24 hours unbroken rest every week or 48 hours every two weeks

UK Minimum Wage

The hourly rate for the National Minimum Wage (also known as National Living Wage) depends on age and the rates until April 2021 are:

25 and over 21-24 years 18-20 years Under 18 Apprentice

Current Rate £8.72 £8.20 £6.45 £4.55 £4.15

Probation Period

Many employers require new employees to complete an initial ‘probationary’ period for themselves and the employee to assess suitability for the position. The probation period has no legal standing. Employment starts from the first day, not when the probation period ends, and full contractual rights begin from the first day unless the contract states otherwise.

The contract could, however, contain terms which apply only during the probation and are less favorable than those that apply when it ends. These terms must not take away employees’ statutory rights. Employers can extend the probationary period if stipulated in the contract.

UK Overtime

Overtime usually means hours worked over the ‘normal working hours’ fixed by contract. Overtime pay is not mandatory, but must comply the National Minimum Wage. The employment contract will usually detail any overtime rates and how they are calculated.

Notice Period

Statutory notice periods are:

• One week minimum after working between one month and two years

• One week per year after 2 to 12 years’ service

• 12 weeks when employed for over 12 years

An employer may give more than the statutory minimum, but they cannot give less.

Redundancy, Termination and Severance in the UK

Typical criteria for applying redundancy are:

• Employees with shortest length of service or those volunteering

• Disciplinary issues

• General review of staff’s experience and aptitude

Employees who have worked in a company for more than two years receive statutory severance pay as follows:

• Under 22 years old – 50% of week’s pay for each full year worked

• Over 22 and under 41 – one week for each full year

• Over 41 years – one-and-a-half week’s pay per year, with length of service capped at 20 years

• In cases of misconduct or refusing an alternative position, statutory severance pay may not apply

Pension plans in the UK

A workplace pension – also referred to as occupational, works, company or work-based pensions – is a way of saving for retirement that’s arranged by the employer with a percentage of pay automatically put into the scheme every pay day. All employers must provide ‘automatic enrolment’ into the scheme if the employee is classed as a ‘worker’, is aged between 22 and retirement age, earns at least £10,000 a year and ‘ordinarily’ works in the UK.

Since April 2019 the minimum employer contribution is 3% of salary with 5% from the employee for a total minimum contribution of 8%.

Most employees value increased workplace pension contributions by their employer above medical insurance.

Public holidays in the UK

• New Year’s Day

• Good Friday

• Easter Monday

• Early May Bank Holiday (May)

• Spring Bank Holiday (May)

• Summer Bank Holiday (August)

• Christmas Day

• Boxing Day

Working hours in the UK

Employees must not work more than 48 hours a week averaged over 17 weeks, unless they opt out of the regulations. Under-18s cannot work more than eight hours daily or 40 hours weekly. Exceptions may include where 24-hour staffing is necessary, armed forces, emergency services or police, security and surveillance, seafarers or sea fishermen, or where working hours are not measured, e.g. for a managing executive.

Sick leave in the UK

Employees are allowed time off work if unwell. They must supply a doctor’s note if unwell for more than seven days, including non-working. If the employer agrees, employees can obtain a similar document from a physiotherapist, podiatrist or occupation therapist, known as an Allied Health Professional (AHP) Health and Work Report.

Employees receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for up to 28 weeks paid by the employer, set at £95.85 minimum unless their contract has a sick pay scheme or occupational scheme which allows for more.

Maternity Paternity leave in the UK

Statutory Maternity Leave is 52 weeks, made up of:

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

  •  90% of average weekly earnings (before tax) for the first six weeks
  • £151.20 or 90% of average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks
  • Paid with tax and National Insurance deducted

Partners may be eligible for one- or two-weeks’ paternity leave, or Shared Parental Leave and Statutory Shared Parental Leave fr up to 50 weeks with 37 weeks of pay.

Work with Bradford Jacobs’ global acquisition services

Bradford Jacobs’ PEO and RPO specialist teams bring their unmatched knowledge of the UK employment market to the table when partnering international companies in their global expansion plans. Every aspect of hiring and recruiting in the UK falls within our expertise and experience. Remove the risks, costs and uncertainty of hiring and recruiting in the UK by contacting Bradford Jacobs now – we have the solutions.