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Employee benefits in the UK.

Learn about employee benefits in the UK thanks to Horizons’ up-to-date guide.

Horizons is where real, local hiring expertise meets world-class customer service. Quickly and compliantly hire employees in more than 150 countries worldwide, without the need to open a local entity.

Healthcare in the UK

Healthcare in United Kingdom is covered by the National Health Service (NHS). Employers can offer private healthcare as a benefit but there is no statutory requirement to provide any healthcare benefits as employees receive comprehensive healthcare under the NHS.

Private healthcare is a popular employee benefit in the UK, as it allows for shorter waiting times for medical appointments, more choice and access to specialists and access to private hospital rooms. It can be expensive, but the employee can be enrolled in a salary sacrifice scheme to offset the cost.

Pensions in the UK

Employees in the United Kingdom receive a state pension at retirement age (currently 66) based upon their National Insurance Contributions (NIC). Employers are also required to provide a private pension plan and make contributions of at least 3% of an employee’s salary. Employees must pay in a minimum of 5% of their annual salary, but the maximum tax-free amount is £40,000 per year.  

Employees may opt-out of the workplace pension, but the default must be auto-enrolment. This means that each employee is opted-in and must complete a form to opt-out.

Disability in the UK

Disability is covered under the social care scheme in the United Kingdom. People who are unable to work long-term due to disability can claim additional government benefits. Employees receive free treatment for chronic/long-term conditions under the NHS. In some instances employees with a disability may qualify for Access to Work to support them with. This can include British Sign Language Interpreters to assist with job interviews and support workers.

Employees who are unable to work for a period of time due to illness are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) which pays a minimum of £99.35 per week for a minimum of 28 weeks. To claim this, employees must provide a medical certificate after 7 days of absence. However, most employers pay a higher amount of sick pay than the statutory minimum.

Standard practice is:

  • 0 to 20 days = 100% salary
  • from 21st day to 40th day = 50% salary
  • from 41st day to 140th = SSP applies.

Unemployment in the UK

People who are unable to find work in the UK can usually claim Universal Credit, which is a monthly payment to cover living costs. People claiming Universal credit for unemployment are usually expected to be available for work and actively seeking employment.

Frequently asked questions

The following employee benefits are mandatory in the UK:

  • a minimum of 20 days holiday plus bank holidays (or alternative days if they are expected to work bank holidays).
  • a workplace pension
  • maternity/paternity pay.

We can offer private healthcare benefits: Horizons Health by SafetyWing® and a pension scheme with a government-funded pension provider (NEST).

Hiring in the UK, Made Easy

Your business can easily hire employees in the UK without opening a local entity.

We handle local employment law, complex tax regulations, and international payroll in 150+ countries worldwide. All you need to do is focus on your business.

$490/month

Per employee (estimated)

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