New research finds that HR and payroll processes in the UK are the 21st most complex in Europe, meaning these processes are more complicated than ones adopted by countries such as the Netherlands, Portugal and Germany.

A new report by TMF Group, a critical compliance and administrative services provider, has shown that the Human Resources and payroll environment in the UK is the 21st most complex in Europe. Globally, the UK was ranked as 42nd most complex for HR and payroll processes.

On the whole, the research found that the UK was an employer-friendly jurisdiction. This was down to regular pay increases not being mandatory and the number of legally required benefits for employees being lower than other European countries such as France or Italy.

Furthermore, the notice period to dismiss an underperforming employee is only four weeks in the UK. When compared to other countries such as Germany and Italy where this notice period can take anywhere between 12 and 25 weeks, the UK appears to be very employer-friendly.

In addition, employers in the UK do not have to give a reason when dismissing an employee.

Despite this, the report finds that the UK is perceived as more complicated due to the impact of Brexit and all the complications that have accompanied this transition. It states that whilst locations such as Ireland and the Netherlands have economies which are expected to stay stable over the next few years, this is not expected to occur in the UK.

Globally, the report found that the five countries rated the most complex for HR and payroll are Belgium, Malaysia, China, Bolivia and France, while the least complex are Chile, the United States, Malta, the British Virgin Islands and Jersey.

Adele Ewing, TMF Group’s global head of human resources and payroll commented:

The UK has always had a flexible employment environment for multinationals. The pragmatic approach that characterises the Anglo-Saxon countries is a sought-after factor that attracts businesses from all over the world.

That being said, 2021 will represent a big challenge in light of Brexit, as well as the continued effects of Covid-19 and its implications for both employees and employers.

*This research was obtained from TMF Group’s report ‘HR & Payroll: Navigating complex requirements in turbulent times’. It analyses human resources and payroll policies in 77 jurisdictions worldwide.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.