Strategy | 5 employee benefits considerations that are key to a successful UK expansion

5 employee benefits considerations that are key to a successful UK expansion

Expanding to the UK is an exciting step for your business, but the number of unique considerations and risks are something that you need to pay attention to. Although there may be commonalities in the types of benefits you offer your people in both the USA and UK, how you offer them and what they look like in the UK can be fundamentally different.

In this article, you’ll learn about the top 5 employee benefits considerations that could be key to making your business’ UK operation a success.

1. Employee benefits spend allocation

The health care system in the US is such that your employee benefits budget will predominantly be allocated to providing comprehensive medical insurance cover to your people. In the UK, socialized medicine (by way of the National Health Service – or NHS) means that this is not the case.

Medical insurance plans in the UK may require less of your budget to provide than comprehensive medical cover in the US, but that doesn’t mean that the overall budget for benefits in the UK is any less than in the USA - it simply means that spend is allocated differently.

2. Get your retirement benefits right

Pensions in the UK are a legally required benefit; they’ll potentially be the area of your UK employee benefits strategy with the highest cost and are widely regarded as one of the most important benefits in the UK. Not only do you have to provide the right product and contribution structure, but your people in the UK will expect to have guidance around how their pension works and the investment strategy.

There are also certain details that you will need to tell your people:

  1. The date you added them to your pension scheme

  2. The type of pension scheme and who runs it

  3. How much both you (the employer) and they will contribute

  4. The fact that they can opt out of the scheme if they want to

3. Understand what employee benefits are required by law

Your bare minimum expectation as an employer setting up in the UK is that you offer your people the benefits required by local law, and benefits legislation can differ considerably from country to country. By basing your strategy on assumptions without doing your research, you can leave your organization vulnerable to regulatory fines as well as the reputational damage that could occur as a result. Examples of mandatory benefits in the UK, include:

  1. Workplace pension scheme with the minimum legal contributions

  2. Annual leave (vacation) entitlements

  3. Statutory sickness

  4. Maternity / paternity pay

4. Understand what benefits may be expected by your people in the UK

To help you attract and retain the best talent, as a minimum you should be offering benefits that are expected by your UK people within your sector – benefits that your competitors will likely also be offering.

  • Private medical insurance (PMI): helps your people and their families avoid lengthy National Health Service waiting times to get specialist medical support quickly.

  • Income protection benefits (LTD): financial support for your people if they’re unable to work for a long period of time.

  • Employer-funded life insurance and critical illness cover: if an employee dies or suffers a critical illness, this supports their family through the resulting loss of income.

  • Enhanced maternity and paternity leave: offers greater support to those who have recently had a child in the form of more paid time off.

5. How to effectively communicate your employee benefits

A key component of a successful employee benefits strategy in the UK is how you communicate your benefits and drive engagement among your people. Nowadays, there is a greater emphasis on the importance of physical and mental wellbeing, ensuring your benefits are widely known, understood and accessible means:

  • Your people can be empowered to bring their best mental and physical selves to work

  • A potential better return on your employee benefits investment

  • Your people should feel valued by your business

NFP’s guide to international benefits

With more benefits, reward and HR professionals taking on multinational responsibilities, our team of experienced international benefits consultants have created this new guide to share their high-level insight into the key aspects of running a successful international benefits programme.

In this comprehensive guide, you'll learn:

  • What to consider when designing your global benefits strategy

  • How to identify the right benefits and provider(s) to deliver them

  • How to efficiently run your global benefits programme

  • How to review and maintain oversight of your programme

Get the Guide

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