HR Consultancy in the UK

IRIS HR Consulting has experience in helping businesses grow in the United Kingdom. Without expert guidance, it can otherwise be risky and costly to leave local laws and legislation open to interpretation. For a scalable, compliant operation, IRIS can manage your HR in the UK to help your business hire, recruit, and pay staff overseas in new, unfamiliar countries. As a popular destination for businesses, IRIS can navigate local barriers – from culture to compliance – to arrive at a rewarding opportunity for your business to thrive in this exciting marketplace.

Take your business to the UK with IRIS HR Consultancy.

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    Global expansion in the UK

    Many businesses keenly observe the United Kingdom as the gateway to the rest of Europe. The United Kingdom is known for its many benefits: strategic trading partners, conducive and thriving climate for new business, affluent marketplace and skilled and diverse talent pools.

    The UK has scored favorably on the World Bank’s index for doing business with ease. Yet, even more attractive, the UK’s taxation system is seen as rather simple when compared with other foreign markets. Overall, the UK market has been opened by countless trade opportunities, supportive infrastructure, and a labor availability and diversity. That’s why many have forecasted the UK to have the largest European economy by 2030.

    A Guide to Employing Staff in the United Kingdom

    Everything you need to know about the employment laws and compliance requirements in this country

    Europe’s Gateway

    Located favorably on the global map, the UK is a great entry market for businesses seeking to eventually reach Europe. For any global expansion and strategy one of the strongest influences is geography. With the terrestrial European markets orbiting the UK, and with historic partnerships in place, businesses can look to enjoy not only what the UK has to offer, but the rest of Europe too.

    With favorable conditions for employment, the UK is a magnet for some of Europe’s most talented labor. There are few barriers to doing business in the UK, which is why it’s been historically popular with many large, international businesses. In many cases, London is home and headquarters to many of these multinational operations.


    The changing face of European business is owed, in part, to Brexit. With tighter compliance, and a re-emphasis on boundaries, you will need to ensure your business is prepared to tackle new laws as they emerge and reshape the likes of global recruitment and expansions. Partnering with IRIS, which is headquartered in the UK, can help you stay ahead of developments as they unravel. Become more competitive with our expert international HR consultation.

    HR in London

    As more major capitals become international destinations, the likes of foreign investment, business opportunity and new cultural, and even economic prospects, continue to compete at a healthy pace. London’s global status as a powerhouse for cultural and economic opportunity has earned it a reputation as a business destination, especially where there’s interest to grow and expand into European markets.

    Over the years, London has been crowned with various honors, including an acknowledgement that it’s the “business capital of Europe”. According to Schroder’s Global City Index, London is ranked third just behind Hong Kong and Los Angeles. As a benchmark for global cities, this index establishes where countries demonstrate high quality in areas beyond business and culture, instead celebrating educational opportunities and infrastructure. Unsurprisingly, Greater London is home to 13.4% of the UK’s domestic population, and it’s estimated that around 35% of its population is made up of other nationalities.

     A snapshot of London’s major statistics demonstrates this global reputation:

    Businesses looking to successfully make use of London as a global resource, such as its rich and diverse talent market, will need specialist HR consultants like IRIS to ensure that compliance is taken care of. People priorities are at the heart of global expansions, and ensuring your global team is looked after will help drive your business’ future success.

    Establishing your business in the UK

    Embarking on a global expansion is a strategic move to gain extra value from exciting foreign markets, which are constantly evolving and full of opportunity. But the international stage isn’t always easy to navigate.

    For example, the main statutory employment rights in the UK are founded in the Employment Rights Act 1996. Anti-discrimination legislation is also relatively well-developed in the UK, with the main statutory provisions now found in the Equality Act 2010, as amended.

    Before establishing your operation in this British market, you must ensure compliance with employment law.

    birmingham city centre

    Employment laws in the UK

    When first expanding your business into the UK, navigating local laws, legislation and rules of employment is no mean feat, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the country’s driving policies like its stance on environmental impact. Throughout Europe, these laws are almost never universal. Rather, employment is dynamic and reflects the country social, economic, cultural opportunities.

    Did you know?

    If you employ at least one person in the UK over the age of 22 earning in excess of £10,000.00, you will be subject to the auto-enrolment process whereby you, as employer, must enroll your employees in a workplace pension scheme.

    Working in the UK

    Hiring & recruitment in the UK

    When getting your first hire overseas, you will need to negotiate terms of employment. But that requires local knowledge, strict compliance, and an understanding of what to include in an offer.

    Employment rights & contracts in the UK

    In all scenarios of employment, work can be captured either in a written contract or orally. Whilst there is no obligation to have a written contract, employers must confirm the major conditions of employment within one. In most working cultures, employment particulars are captured in a contract, whilst the remaining details about the workplace are contained within staff handbooks and policies.

    Within two months prior to a role commencing, the employer must provide conditions of employment, including (but not limited to):

    • Name(s)
    • Date of Employment
    • Hours of Work
    • Places of Work
    • Details of Probationary Window
    • Any Benefits and Compensation

    Equal Opportunities in the UK

    All working parties in the UK are protected and guided under the Equality Act 2010, whereby any form of discrimination is strictly forbidden.

    What are the working hours in the UK? 

    The standard working hours in the UK are regulated by the Working Time Regulations 1998, which establishes a 48-hour working limit per week. The expected maximum of a working week in the UK is typically 40 hours, but many employees will work just under that upper threshold.

    Overtime in the UK

    Unless the employment contract expresses overtime (paid or unpaid), employees will not be obliged to conduct hours over their standard working week. When extra or overtime is required, employers should control expectations by meeting with employers and establishing terms and conditions.

    For employers, it’s imperative to know that any accrued overtime allowance is now calculated as part of annual leave payments.

    Public Holidays in the UK

    In the UK, there are eight national public holidays, which can be paid or unpaid, including:

    • New Year’s Day – 1 January
    • Good Friday – 2 April
    • Easter Monday – 5 April
    • Early May Bank Holiday – 3 May
    • Spring Bank Holiday – 31 May
    • Summer Bank Holiday – 30 August
    • Christmas Day – 25 December
    • Boxing Day – 26 December

    Vacation or Annual Leave

    This entitlement is typically captured in an employment contract, whereby employees working 5 days per week on a full-time basis have a statutory entitlement to 28 days paid leave per year. Annual leave is inclusive of public holidays.

    Sick Leave in the UK

    Those affected, and therefore unable to work, are entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP), which is a State-funded benefit facilitated by the employer. SSP payments are effective from the 4th day of absence up until 28 weeks.

    Maternity Leave in the UK

    Pregnant employees, as contracted, are entitled to maternity leave. There are two types of maternity leave:

    • Ordinary Maternity Leave (OML) – entitles an employee with up to 26 weeks of statutory maternity absence; it is compulsory for 2 of those weeks to be taken immediately after childbirth
    • Additional Maternity Leave (AML) – provides an additional 26 weeks of leave, following completion of the OML

    Mothers who qualify are essentially entitled to up to 39 weeks’ Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP).

    Paternity Leave in the UK

    Eligible employees (e.g. with 26 weeks of service, etc.) are entitled to the standard paternity leave of either one or two whole weeks, paid at the rate of Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP).

    Parental Leave

    An employee with one year’s continuous employment who is the parent of a child under eighteen has the right to take a total of 18 weeks’ unpaid leave. The leave should be taken in blocks of one week or more (except for parents of disabled children who can take a day’s leave at a time) and is subject to a limit of four weeks a year unless the employer agrees otherwise.

    Shared Parental Leave

    Eligible mothers, fathers, partners and adopters are entitled to take Shared Parental Leave.

    All of the 52 weeks of maternity or adoption leave, except the two-week period of compulsory maternity leave after birth, or the first two weeks of adoption leave, are available for sharing between the two parents as SPL, less the weeks spent by the child’s mother or adopter on maternity or adoption leave (or the weeks in which the mother or adopter has been in receipt of SMP, MA or SAP if they are not entitled to maternity or adoption leave).

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    Deliver your business to new, exciting markets with confidence and compliance.

    End of Service

    HR in the UK requires compliance not only during an employee’s service, but also at the end of it. End of service might include severance, termination, redundancy, and leaving packages. Or, for globally mobile companies with teams in foreign markets, this could be repatriation services for those returning from an assignment overseas.

    For these more complicated matters, you will need expert HR guidance to navigate British labor laws and remain compliant.

    HR in the UK

    Termination (including Severance) in the UK

    The terms and conditions of termination, including any severance allowance, should be notified in the contract, including any obligations for the employer and employee.

    Social Security

    The UK has a comprehensive health and welfare system, funded by contributions from both employees and employers (referred to as NIC) and managed by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). 

    Employers Liability Insurance (ELI)

    ELI insurance provides protection to the employer in respect of work injury claims. It is a mandatory requirement of all UK employers to secure Employer Liability insurance. The minimum level requirement is £5M for employer liability, although in practice, most companies secure cover of £10M.

    Common Supplemental Benefits

    Eye Care (Eyecare Vouchers OR Reimbursement)

    Employers are obliged to provide and pay for eye and eyesight tests for employees using VDU within the normal course of their duties.  Furthermore, if specific spectacles are to be used by an employee in order to use a VDU, the employer has an obligation to fund the basic costs of these.

    Life Insurance

    Lump sum death in service cover is very common. For it to remain relevant as an employee progresses, linking the amount provided to some multiple of salary is normal.

    Income Protection (IP)                 

    This benefit is designed to provide a continuing income stream to employees who are absent from work due to long term sickness.


    It is now a requirement for all UK employers to enroll all eligible employees into a workplace pension and to pay a minimum level of contributions into it. An Employer must pay minimum contributions of at least 3% of base salary, although this depends upon the compliance method chosen.

    Private Medical Insurance (PMI)

    Private medical insurance is widespread.  The purpose behind it is to avoid the long waiting times for treatment under the NHS and to give choice as to when and where treatment takes place. From an employer’s perspective it helps ensure that the work impact of a medical condition is minimized.

    Why Partner With IRIS?

    When entering new, exciting countries around Europe, like the UK, whether in London or further north, you’ll need a specialist HR consultant to navigate local laws Delivering a compliant solution, IRIS can help your business arrive at new marketplaces whilst protecting your workforce – our partners can discover power and protection through us.

    Overseas expansions can seem risky to those who dare it alone. Understanding the complexity of a fully compliant solution, IRIS can help businesses reach Europe, especially when they build bridges in the UK.

    Our cost-effective, knowledgeable approach to HR in the UK makes us an ideal partner to commence your overseas plans.