At Work in Edinburgh

Work Usage in Edinburgh

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Scotland follows the same legislations as the UK. However, as it has it's own administrative body of the Scottish Parliament, it has some of its own national initiatives.

For more information on your rights, consult the UK site DirectGov.

Working Hours

Normal business hours are 9:00-17:00, but many businesses have longer or different opening hours.

Adult workers cannot work more than 48 hours a week on average, but may work more than 48 hours in one week if the average over 17 weeks is less than 48 hours per week. Many executives and managers may stay over this time voluntarily. Other workers can "opt out" of this requirement, but they must be over 18, it must be voluntary, and in writing.


The current minimum wage (in GBP) is:

  • £5.93 for workers aged 21 and over
  • £4.92 for workers aged 18-20
  • £3.64 for workers aged 16-17
  • £2.50 for the apprentices in the first year of their apprenticeship
These rates are reviewed each year by the Low Pay Commission. Any changes normally take place on 1 October.


As a modern, competitive city, Edinburgh offers competitive salaries, although they are -of course- less than London.

    Average salaries (in GBP, per year) based on career:
  • Sr. Software Engineer / Developer / Programmer: £37,055
  • Office Administrator: £15,877
  • Software Developer: £25,235
  • Information Technology (IT) Manager: £37,636
  • Personal Assistant: £23,077
  • Marketing Manager: £25,466
  • Office Manager: £21,720


Most jobs are under contract. An employment contract must be in writing and the employee should read and understand all conditions before signing. If it is in a language other than your mother tongue, you should allow a trusted advisor (like a lawyer or close friend) that is fluent in that language to inspect it.

    There are three main kinds of employment contracts:
  • Limited Time Contract - Ends after a set period of time.
  • Specific Work Contract - Usually is for specific work and when the work is completed, the contract is finished.
  • Indeterminate Contracts - For permanent jobs which can only be terminated according to the terms of the contract regarding notice periods and severance pay.


An employee has been terminated when an employer brings the contract of employment to an end. This may be due to redundancy (lay-off) or dismissal because of fault of the employee.

An employee may submits a voluntary termination by leaving the job.

Under UK law, an employer can dismiss an employee at any time, although a period of notice must normally be given. The minimum levels of notice an employer must normally give to an employee are laid down in the Employment Rights Act 1996 and depend upon the length of time the employee has been continuously employed.

  • Less than 4 weeks continuous employment - 24 hours
  • Less than 4 weeks continuous employment - 24 hours
  • 4 weeks to 2 years continuous employment - 1 weeks notice
  • 2 years to 12 years continuous employment - 1 weeks notice for each complete year of continuous employment
  • more than 12 years continuous employment - 12 weeks notice
If the employee's contract provides for a longer period of notice than the above statutory minimum periods of notice, the longer contractual period of notice will apply. The contract may also provide that a payment may be made to the employee in lieu of notice. If an employee is guilty of serious or gross misconduct (i.e. violence, theft, etc.) the employer may be justified in instantly dismissing the employee without any period of notice at all.

Time Off

Almost all workers have the right to paid leave, also called "statutory holiday". People who work full-time, part-time, agency workers and casual workers are all eligible. Only people who are self-employed and a few other exceptions will not be entitled to statutory paid holiday.

  • Minimum of 5.6 weeks paid annual leave (28 days for someone working five days a week)
  • Part-time workers are entitled to the same level of holiday pro rata (so 5.6 times your usual working week, eg 22.4 days for someone working four days a week)
  • Holiday time begins as soon as you start work
  • Employer can control when you take your holiday
  • Entitled to normal pay rate
  • If you leave a job with remaining holiday time, you are compensated


Commonly called "bank holidays", these are days where most public/government offices and many private businesses will be closed. The holidays in Scotland are often different from the rest of the UK. There are also other public or local holidays which can be determined by local authorities, based on local tradition. Since 2007, St Andrews Day has also been a permanent bank holiday and April 29th, 2011 is an additional bank holiday for the royal wedding.

Holidays (Holidays not held every year in parenthesis):
  • New Year's Day - January 1st
  • Day after New Year's Day - January 2nd
  • Good Friday - April to May
  • (Royal wedding - April 29th, 2011)
  • Early May Bank Holiday - first Monday in May
  • Spring Bank Holiday - late May
  • (Queen's Diamond Jubilee - June 5th, 2012)
  • Summer Bank Holiday - first Monday of August
  • St Andrew's Day - November 30th
  • Christmas Day - days surrounding December 25th
  • Boxing Day - Day after Christmas

Update 8/04/2011


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