United Kingdom: Operating a Business

United Kingdom flag United Kingdom: Operating a Business

Operating a Business

The Active Population in Figures

Labour Force 34,331,42234,639,27434,738,347

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

Total activity rate 77.41%77.73%78.01%
Men activity rate 82.17%82.40%82.42%
Women activity rate 72.67%73.08%73.62%

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

Employed Persons, by Occupation (% of Total Labour Force) 2015
Human health and social work activities 13.3%
Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles 13.0%
Education 10.5%
Manufacturing 9.6%
Construction 7.2%
Professional, scientific and technical activities 7.0%
Public administration and defence; compulsory social security 5.9%
Accommodation and food service activities 5.2%
Transportation and storage 5.0%
Administrative and support service activities 4.8%
Information and communication 4.0%
Financial and insurance activities 4.0%
Arts, entertainment and recreation 2.7%
Agriculture, forestry and fishing 1.1%
Real estate activities 1.1%
Water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities 0.7%
Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply 0.6%
Mining and quarrying 0.5%
For Further Statistics
National statistics

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Working Conditions

Legal Weekly Duration
There is no specific number of hours that makes someone full or part-time, but a full-time worker will usually work 35 hours or more a week. (gov.co.uk)
Retirement Age
Default retirement age (formerly 65) has been phased out - most people can now work for as long as they want to. Retirement age is not the same as State Pension age, which can be between 61 and 68, depending on the person's date of birth and gender.
Working Contracts
Legal clauses regulate employment contracts and to a lesser degree collective agreements and individual negotiations.
Labour Laws
Consult the Doing Business website, to obtain a summary of the labour regulations that apply to local entreprises.

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Cost of Labour

Minimum Wage
The minimum hourly rate is GBP 9.50  (source: GOV.UK).
Average Wage
According to the Office for National Statistics, median annual pay for full-time employees was £31,285 for the tax year ending 5 April 2021, down 0.6% on the previous year.
Social Contributions
Social Security Contributions Paid By Employers: In general, national insurance contributions are taxed at 15.05% on all earnings in excess of £175 per week and are deductible for corporate income tax. For more details on thresholds, refer to the gov.uk website here. Information regarding social security arrangements between the UK and the UE is also available on the gov.uk website here.
Social Security Contributions Paid By Employees: National insurance (NI) contribution is a withholding tax on payroll. Employees are classified as Class 1. In general, national insurance contributions are taxed at 13.25% if weekly pay is £190 to £967 and 3.25% if weekly pay is over £967. Class 1 contributors pay less if they are in a contracted out workplace pension, a married woman or a widow, or are deferring NI as they have more than one job. Information regarding social security arrangements between the UK and the UE is also available on the gov.uk website here.

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Social Partners

Employer Associations
CBI - The Confederation of British Industries
FSB - Federation of Small Businesses
Social Dialogue and Involvement of Social Partners
Union membership has been relatively stable in the past few years, although the trend has been slightly downward over the past decade. About 20% of full time UK employees belong to a union, a low proportion by UK historical standards. Public sector workers have a much higher share of union members (60%) while the private sector is about 15%. Manufacturing, transport, and distribution trades are highly unionised. Unionisation of the workforce in the UK is prohibited only in the armed forces, public-sector security services, and police forces.

The following confederations can be listed : UNITE (British and Irish trade union), TUC ( TRADE UNION CONGRESS), STUC ( THE SCOTTISH TRADE UNION CONGRESS) and Wales TUC.
Labour Unions
Scotland TUC
Wales TUC
Unionisation Rate
25.4% in 2014.
Labour Regulation Bodies
Department for Work and Pensions

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Latest Update: May 2023

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