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UK Employment Law Overview

The employment laws in the United Kingdom were created with the sole purpose of protecting employees. Many people make the assumption that the U.K employment laws are similar to the laws in the United States because they are both English speaking countries. But in fact, the employment laws between the two countries differ greatly. The United States employment laws do not favor the employee as much as the laws in the United Kingdom do. For one thing, the U.K. does not have an "at-will" employment doctrine like the U.S. has. This means that if an employer in the U.K. wants to terminate one of their employees, they need a justifiable reason for the termination. If it were a system of at-will employment, then the employer would be able to just terminate an employee for no reason at all if they wanted to. In the U.K., the employees are protected from this kind of unfair termination. Plus, there are strict health and safety requirements for workers in the U.K. that all employers must abide by. These requirements basically state that all workers need to be protected from harm, regardless of what their job may be.

So, if something ends up happening to an employee then the responsibility falls on the employer.

Background checks are becoming more common for employers to conduct on their job applicants. The United States has very loose employment laws surrounding this. All an American employer has to do is have their applicant sign a consent form and then a background check on them can be performed. The U.K. doesn't give employers as much freedom to do these background checks as in the U.S. For one thing, British employers have to follow certain requirements for collecting data and be registered with the government to conduct these checks. In the U.S. they don't have to be registered with the government. They can simply obtain a persons social security number and perform a background check themselves. This is probably why there is such an increase in identity theft in the U.S. when compared to the low rate of ID theft in the U.K.

In the United States, the laws pertaining to the right to work put the burden on the employee to provide proof of their work eligibility. This isn't the case in the United Kingdom because the employment laws put that responsibility on the employer. They have to prove the work eligibility of their employees to the government by providing physical evidence and citizenship records of each of their employees. If an employer fails to do this they could face severe penalties.

You may think that this would cause British employers to not want to hire too many people, but yet they still do. In fact, many immigrants who move to the United Kingdom end up getting jobs quickly and are able to afford a comfortable lifestyle there. Besides being known as an employee friendly society, the U.K. also has jobs that give great benefits to their workers. Some of these benefits include better health insurance and more vacation days. In the U.S., employers try to cheat their employees by hiring them at 29 hours a week instead of 30 hours. This way they don't have to pay them any benefits because they are barely keeping them under the required amount of hours for full time. This would never happen in the U.K.

It is no surprise that migrants who move to the U.K. end up settling down here. There is no better place to work in the world and this fact is catching on quickly. There is a fair minimum wage set for workers as well as a maximum amount of normal working hours. In the workplace there is great protection for employees against discrimination. Anyone that discriminates or harasses another employee will have committed a seriously punishable offence.

So, if you are thinking about moving to the U.K. then you should definitely research all the employment laws, especially if you are opening up a business and looking to hire people. Employers have a huge responsibility to their employees and being ignorant of the laws could cost you a lot of money.

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