Working conditions and labour laws in England


Working conditions differ across the world, and as a working expat, it is important to know your rights as an employee.

Are working conditions standard in England? For instance, are working hours, paid time off, and sick leave different for expats v.s. locals? Do they differ based on the type of company (private, public, NGO)?

Are there laws in place regarding physical conditions of the office, employee protection, etc.?

What are some resources in England to inform people about labour laws and employee rights (websites, governmental associations)?

Have the general working conditions or labour laws changed in any way lately?

How do the working conditions and labour laws in England differ from your country of origin?

Thank you for sharing your experience,


Hello Priscilla
While worker rights seem to be well protected for all (local and foreign workers included ) , there are however , ways and means through which foreign and ethnic minority workers could be discriminated against.Very recently the Prime Minister Theresa May asked companies to reveal the pay gap between White employees and ethnic minority workers.Clearly ,the government is aware of this pay gap .
From experience ,I believe that ethnic minority workers are often shortlisted for interviews ,just so that the company's' paperwork looks above board ,but the job most times would go to a White candidate.
A concern for me ,is the British aeronautics /aerospace industry.A family member attended a top aeronautics university and passed with a first .This individual has a glowing CV ,in terms of  academic achievement being balanced with sporting activities , leadership roles and voluntary work The cohort was made up of White students and about 4 ethnic minority students.None of the 4 ethnic minority students were able to secure work placement or employment.Almost all of the White graduates are employed .
The family member did secure an interview with a company ,was praised was for an excellent interview but was unsuccessful at securing the job.He politely sought feedback from the interviewers and was told of course they would get in touch to give him that feedback .They then completely avoided his emails and calls and two months later he has not received that feedback.
I wonder if there are any expats on this site who may have worked in the British aerospace industry and have a different view to contribute.

Hi Priscilla.

I'd like to respond to SRJ's post above.

First to deal with the easy bit; poor to nil response to interview feedback is common in the UK, probably in many other countries as well.  In my previous employment, I asked our HR director why, she told me that her staff are so busy doing the stuff the law requires them to do, that they have no time left to do anything that they don't have to.  Frustrating, but while they still get candidates walking through the door, they are under no pressure to change how they respond to applicants - they get plenty of applicants for every job.

As to ethnic matters; is your family member a UK or EU citizen?

Thanks for the reply
Yes ,the family member is a UK citizen -dual South African/British so he is excluded from applying for some positions due to having dual citizenship ,but those companies do clearly state on their application forms that dual citizens would not be considered.

Mmmm, the only thing I can think of that could cause a problem for dual nationals is if that something is Defence related and individuals require security vetting; aerospace nowadays is very defence related.

I doubt very much if these companies are discriminating against anybody because of their ethnicity, they are by definition multinationals; he more than likely couldn't tick a box in the process.

Once again ,thanks for your arbitrary input .It is always good to hear from those with a different take on a situation.
I hope it's as simple as not ticking a box and will stay hopeful and keep my fingers crossed.
Best wishes to you and the team.

There are not any legal ways to discriminate against foreign workers. It is illegal and the worker can sue the company for almost unlimited amounts.

As for the government wanting to have an audit - this is just the government trying to be politically correct. Of course they will find there is a difference in some groups compared to others - it will show that those that come from countries with poor education get paid less than those that come from high education countries. It is purely an excesice in PC.

The comparison is between British people ,who are all British educated .

If you think about it; active discrimination for any reason (never mind race, colour or religion) against anybody who is qualified to do the task required is just dumb, companies that do this will soon be out of business.  At the same time, neither should an ethnic be given a job over anybody else because he or she is ethnic.

That said, there have been reports in the UK national press (link to Independent), that would suggest that the outcomes for the ethnic population in the UK are not as good as for the rest.  Certainly, the recent explosion of murders affecting the Afro-Caribean community in London shows that there is something seriously wrong somewhere, but again, whether that's due to racism, or culture is something to also be considered.

Is it? That is not possible for companies to identify. Even if you do that you will notice that some ethnic minorities are very highly educated, others do awfully at education.

Agreed , it should always be that the best person for the job should get the job ,regardless of race , ethnicity ,perceived social class ,gender ,sexuality or any other possible discriminatory factor.
I do ,however ,believe that racism and other forms of prejudice in the the UK workplace is real and does contribute to marginalising some race groups.
I feel strongly that job applications should be made via number rather than by name ,interviews should be recorded  and feedback should be compulsory.

merci,mais pour les conditions de travailles sont les memes donc pour moi je cherche un contrat de travaille pour commencer directement

Hello Djefrey Bellila,

As you are on the English forum it would be better to write in accordance so as all members can understand and participate  :top:

Thank you,

Alexia Team

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