Employers of Record (EORs) in the UK: Everything you need to know

Looking for an EOR in the UK? Here's what you need to know.

Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament against a blue sky.

There’s never been a better time to tap into the global talent pool of workers, and the United Kingdom is one of the best places to start your search. The UK offers a strong, diverse pool of talent that includes more than 30 million workers. The UK workforce is highly educated and skilled, particularly in financial and professional services.  However, as with most countries, hiring across borders isn’t so straightforward. With the complications involved in setting up an entity, many look to a UK employer of record (EOR) to solve this problem.

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EORs in the UK

An employer of record is an external organization that acts as the full legal employer of the employee or employees your company wants to hire. Those employees are then able to perform work for your organization with the EOR as their employer for tax and compliance purposes. 

In the case of firms hiring UK talent, the EOR would be based out of the UK so the companies could proceed without needing to set up a local entity. Using a UK employer of record also allows companies to smoothly handle remote employee relocation to the region.  

Setting up an office or subsidiary before hiring UK talent can be time-consuming and costly. By using a UK employer of record, you can tap into this talent pool without the usual headaches of global employment. 

Keep in mind that there are three main operating models for employers of record, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. The ideal EOR model for bringing on UK workers will depend on your company’s specific needs and goals.  

A few things to know about hiring in the UK

1. Working hours

The workweek for employees in the UK is limited to 48 hours per week, averaged over 17 weeks. This is known as the “working time directive.” However, employees over the age of 18 can opt out of this time limit with a voluntary, written agreement. Employees under the age of 18 cannot work more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week.

After six hours of work, UK employees are entitled to 20 minutes of rest. Employees are also entitled to 11 hours of rest between working days, plus 24 hours of continuous rest each week. 

2. Healthcare

Employees in the UK have universal free access to healthcare as provided by the National Health Service (NHS). The NHS is funded through National Insurance Contributions (NICs) that come from employer contributions and employee salary deductions. 

Some employers in the UK choose to provide additional private health insurance as an employment benefit, but most do not. 

3. Data protection

In the UK, employees are protected through the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) against employers disclosing their personal information. Among other requirements, the GDPR requires employers to do the following with employee personal data:

  • Ensure it is up to date, accurate, and relevant
  • Ensure it is secure
  • Ensure it is only kept for the necessary period
  • Process it in a transparent and fair way
  • Only use it for lawful purposes 

4. Maternity leave

Pregnant employees in the UK are entitled to up to 52 weeks of maternity leave, which is made up of 26 weeks of “Ordinary Maternity Leave” and 26 weeks of “Additional Maternity Leave.” Employees must take at least two weeks off after the birth of the baby, but the rest of the maternity leave is optional. 

If the employee has worked for the employer for 26 weeks or more and meets minimum earning requirements, they are entitled to up to 38 weeks of statutory maternity pay. 

5. Termination

An employer generally must provide employees notice to terminate an employment contract in the UK. The amount of notice the employer must generally provide is determined by the employment contract or the statutory notice period, whichever is longer.  

Find out more about hiring in the UK in our complete hiring guide

UK Employer of Record made easy

For those interested in moving forward with a UK employer of record, Oyster’s global employment platform can be the solution. Oyster makes hiring across borders simple by handling all aspects of employment for you, including:

  • Compliance with local laws
  • Onboarding
  • Payroll
  • Benefits
  • Time off management
  • Offboarding 

Talk to one of our advisors today to find out how our global employment platform can help onboard team members from the UK seamlessly. 

How much does it cost to hire in the UK?

Check out our cost of hiring in the UK calculator to get an idea of how much tax you might have to pay on top of an employee's salary.

About Oyster

Oyster is a global employment platform designed to enable visionary HR leaders to find, engage, pay, manage, develop, and take care of a thriving distributed workforce. Oyster lets growing companies give valued international team members the experience they deserve, without the usual headaches and expense.

Oyster enables hiring anywhere in the world—with reliable, compliant payroll, and great local benefits and perks.

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