Work Usage in London


The United Kingdom plays an important role worldwide economy and London is at the center of this activity. Work standards are similar to that of Western Europe with standard hours, restrictions, and protections.

For 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 consent must be in writing.


The current minimum wage (in GBP) is:

  • 6.08 for workers aged 21 and over
  • 4.98 for workers aged 18-20
  • 3.68 for workers aged 16-17
  • 2.60 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, London offers competitive salaries. The median wage in the UK for all jobs is estimated at £20,800. The median income for London is estimated to be £28,000.

    Average salaries (in GBP, per year) based on career:
  • Consultant: 47,000
  • Software Engineer/Developer: 40,000
  • Operations Manager: 37,000
  • Personal Assistant: 24,500
  • Graphic Artist/Designer: 20,500
  • Office Administer: 17,000


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. Terms of a contract may not be changed by the employer without an employee's agreement.

    By law the written statement or a work contract should include the following:
  • Names of employer and employee
  • Date work started
  • Amount of pay and whether it is to be paid weekly, monthly or otherwise
  • Working hours
  • Holiday entitlements and holiday pay
  • Sick pay entitlements
  • Notice period
  • Job title
  • Work locations
  • Disciplinary, dismissal and grievance procedures in the workplace
  • Information on the employer's occupational pension scheme, if there is one and if the employee may join
    There are several kinds of employment contracts:
  • Permanent contract - Permanent position with a company
  • Fixed term contract - Contract has a date specifying when the job will end
  • Probationary contract - Sometimes given to people who have just started their job. This can be changed to another contract when the probationary period is over
  • Short term contract - Usually for one year, but never more than two
  • Zero contract - does not specify any number of hours that the employee will be required to work. These are common for shop workers who are contracted to work whenever they are asked
  • Key time contract - for people who are guaranteed some work, but not at regular hours


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.

Terms of termination should be detailed within the contract. Issues with termination should be discussed with a trade union, the Citizens Advice Bureau or a Law Centre. After a dismissal, there is a period of three months in which to make a complaint.

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. There are public or local holidays which can be determined by local authorities, based on local tradition. /p> Holidays (Holidays not held every year in parenthesis):

  • New Year's Day - January lst
  • Day after New Year's Day - January 2nd
  • Good Friday - April to May
  • Easter Monday - April to May (just following Good Friday)
  • Early May Bank Holiday - first Monday in May
  • Spring Bank Holiday - first Monday in June
  • [exceptional: Royal Wedding 29th April 2011, Queen's Diamond Jubilee - June 5th, 2012]
  • Summer Bank Holiday - last Monday of August
  • Christmas Day - days surrounding December 25th
  • Boxing Day - Day after Christmas

All bank holidays are happening on the next available work-day if they fall at the weekend.

Directgov's complete list of holidays.

Update 10/05/2012


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