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Paid leave
in the UK.

SALARY PAYMENT IN British Pound (GBP, £)




TIME TO HIRE 12 hours

Annual leave in the UK (holiday / vacation)

Employees are entitled to at least 20 days’ holiday, plus bank holidays. However, most employers’ standard allowance is 24 days plus bank holidays.

If the employee begins employment during the first year of employment after the holiday year has started, their annual leave is pro-rata, with the full number of days becoming available in the second year.

Parental leave in the UK

1. Maternity leave in the UK

Maternity leave in the United Kingdom allows new/expectant mothers to take up to 56 weeks of leave as long as they are employed before becoming pregnant. The first 26 weeks are known as ordinary maternity leave, with the second 26 weeks as additional maternity leave. The employer pays Statutory Maternity Pay and covers employees for up to 39 weeks. New mothers can take at least two weeks from the date of birth.

Employees must provide you with a minimum of 15 weeks’ notice before their due date.

In the United Kingdom, the first six weeks of maternity pay are paid at 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings. As of 2024, the remaining 33 weeks of the Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) period are paid at £184.03 or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings, whichever is lower.

Suppose an employee is not entitled to SMP because, for example, they became pregnant before working for you. In that case, they can claim Maternity Allowance from the UK government under the same conditions as SMP. The social security scheme pays for this.

2. Paternity leave in the UK

Paternity Leave in the United Kingdom applies to the mother’s partner (including same-sex couples). Employees may take up to 2 weeks of Paternity leave as long as they provide you with a minimum of 15 weeks’ notice before the due date and take the paternity leave within 56 days after the birth.

The employer pays for Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) at the rate of £184.03 or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings, whichever is lower– whichever is lower.

3. Shared parental leave in the United Kingdom

New parents can choose to take Shared Parental Leave (SPL) with Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP). This means that at the end of maternity leave, the second parent can take the remaining amount of the 52 weeks of maternity leave. This includes the rest of the 39 weeks of maternity pay. SPL gives entitlement to the same allowance and pay conditions as maternity leave.

To qualify for SPL/ShPP an employee must have ben employed for a minimum of 6 months.

The UK also has Statutory Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay which is 2 weeks paid leave for parents who have lost a child or who have experienced a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy. It is paid at a rate of either £172.48 a week or 90% of their average weekly earnings (whichever is lower). Tax and National Insurance need to be deducted from this amount. 

4. Unpaid parental leave in the United Kingdom

Employees with a minimum of 1 year’s employment are entitled to unpaid parental leave of up to 18 weeks. This must be taken within 18 years of the birth of the child and is subject to a maximum of 4 weeks per child per year, unless agreed otherwise with the employer.

Employees must provide 21 days’ notice in order to take unpaid parental leave.

Sick leave in the UK

Employees who cannot work due to illness are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). As of 2024, this pays a minimum of £109.40 per week for a minimum of 28 weeks. After seven days of absence, employees must provide a medical certificate to be able to claim SSP.

Although SSP is the minimum requirement, it is standard for employers to pay a higher amount of sick pay.

Standard practice is:

  • 0 to 20 days = 100% salary
  • From 21st day to 40th day = 50% salary
  • From the 41st day to the 140th = SSP applies.

Bereavement and compassionate leave in the UK

There are no statutory requirements to offer bereavement and compassionate leave in the UK (other than Statutory Parental Bereavement Leave, as explained above). However, it is standard practice for employers to offer discretionary bereavement and compassionate leave. The exact amount of leave should be stipulated in your employment policies, and is often limited to immediate family and dependents.

Hiring in the UK, Made Easy

Your business can easily hire employees in the UK without opening a local entity. We handle local employment law, complex tax regulations, and international payroll in 180+ countries worldwide. All you need to do is focus on your business.


The minimum amount of annual leave in the UK is 20 days plus 8 statutory bank holidays (28 days).

There is no minimum amount of sick leave in the United kingdom per year. All employees are entitled to SSP, which can pay out for up to 28 weeks.

There is no minimum amount of sick leave in the United Kingdom per year. All employees are entitled to SSP, which can pay out for up to 28 weeks.
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