The United States and the United Kingdom are two very different but very similar countries as they both have similar history, rule of law and hiring practices. In this article we will cover the main differences when you will be hiring an employee in the US and the UK. This article might be useful if for example you would like to hire employees in the UK to cover the European continent or if you are a British company, to hire American employees to cover the North American continent. Although the process is fairly simple and straightforward, we must cover some key differences that you must know as a business owner. So let’s get started.
In the UK background checks are performed with the metropolitan police. Since the UK is not a federation like the US, police power is given to the country as a whole, which makes background screening a lot easier and simpler, since you can screen the entire country as a whole, but not in America, where the system is very very complex. Policing power is given to the states and to make it more difficult, states are the ones that make it difficult, meaning that even if you know how to screen in your state or county, it might be different for someone residing in a different state. Add FCRA compliance on top of that and you end up with a process that every employer hates.
We recommend using any of these companies: https://cfcw.org/employment-background-check-companies
Employment benefits, like health insurance, pension funds or as we call them in the US 401ks are mandatory in the UK. While in the US you just need to give a paycheck, in the UK, the employer is the one responsible for covering these things for the employee. Another benefit that is often overlooked is vacation days. In the UK you must provide a minimum vacation time of 2 weeks, while in the US, you don’t have to. It’s not mandatory to give vacation days, though we strongly recommend that you do have vacation days in order to stimulate proper employee efficiency.
Learn more here: https://www.gov.uk/estimate-income-tax
European Union Citizens
Before Brexit, you had the option to hire European Union citizens in the UK, this means that if you are not able to find the talent you are looking for, you might be able to hire someone else from a different European country. This is soon going away as the UK is now preparing to leave the EU. However you still are able to hire someone from EU with the current laws and regulations. This is not possible in the US. In the US you must hire someone authorized to work in the US. This means that your options are limited. The EU has about 500 million people, while the US only 320 million. The workforce is much stronger in the EU.
More information on that here: https://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?langId=en&catId=25
The average income in the UK and Europe in general is far lower than in the US. This is the reason as we covered previously due to employment benefits being mandatory, this is why if you search on job portals, you will find lower salaries even in expensive cities like London. This doesn’t mean that the employee will be generally less productive.