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Your journey to success in the Great Britain

Minimum salary in the UK

In this chapter, I would like to answer one of the most frequent questions that I get from my clients. Thanks to years of experience, I can provide the information not only about minimum salary, but also about your expenses you must invest and types of your income. It is great to earn £ 1, 100 per month but more important is what to do with money and how to save it, calculate with an insurance or taxes.

Age25 years and more21 – 24 years18 – 20 yearsunder 18 years Apprentices (16 – 18 years)
Since October 2016£ 7.20£ 6.95£ 5.55£ 4.00£ 3.40
201521 and more years £ 6.70£ 5.30£ 3.87£ 3.30

If you are older than 21, you are going to earn at least the following sum of money per month:

6,95 (salary) * 30 (current exchange rate of GBP/CZK) * 22 (number of work days in a month) * 8 (the length of work hours per day) = 36 696 CZK

It is a net salary before reduction of national instance and potentially taxes.

Examples of income for particular job roles

Catering agencies

For this kind of job you need to have a communication level of English!

This job is not so reliable, as you rely on the demand of the work agency. These agencies have contracts with hotels, stadiums, ministries and they might ask you to work for them, in case they have a request from their clients. You can participate, for example, in 12 events and each of them might take up to 10 hours. It is important to know that you get the minimum salary or only a little bit more than that (£7 per hour). The problem with catering agencies is that they have many candidates like you. Therefore, it is not so time demanding (not a full-time) job, as you would probably want. Also, they must give the chance to work to all of their registered employees.

In case that you cannot find a respectable agency, which would give you a full-time work, I would not recommend working for such an agency. This job is definitely good, if you are looking for a part-time job and you have something else to do as well. On the other hand, in case that you have another job, it can be a big advantage to have this possibility to choose your shifts and work when you have time and energy.

All the agencies require English bank account and National Insurance Number, which you do not usually have after your arrival to the UK.

Hotels 3*, 4* or 5*

In hotels, you very often work with a regular contract. You might work 8, 5 hours per day (8 hours working, 30 minutes for the lunch break). The employer pays for your health and social insurance and you have the right to have payed annual leave (one week per three work months).

As a Room Service, for example in a bar, restaurant or as a luggage porter, you get TIPS (extra money from customers). Tips are usually from £1 to £15 for the service. During this job you will have free (or discounted) breakfasts, lunches, dinners (depending on when you have your shift).

English bar/pub

At this job, you should speak English fluently and you know how to communicate with customers properly. The main reason is that you will have a direct contact with customers and have to offer all the products or meals and understand what the clients want.

The working hours are always flexible. You can work from 5 to 8 hours per day, but sometimes up to 12 hours and get paid per hour. Therefore, it also depends how much you want to work and earn. The employer pays for your health and social insurance. You have the right for annual leave (1 week per 3 work months). In case of working long hours, you have the right for annual leave earlier than in 3 months.

The very important source of income are the tips. You can expect up to £20, if you are social and communicative.

Manufacturing, warehouses, shops

It is not necessary to speak fluent English. The English language skills are not required for these positions. The employer will show you what to do and how to fulfil your duties. The work at these positions is mainly manual (preparing clothes, putting fruit in boxes, storing goods to shelters). For this type of job, you usually get a regular contract.

The employer pays for your health and social insurance. You have the right for an annual leave (1 week per 3 work months). Unfortunately, you can encounter tricks and cheating in this type of occupation. It might happen to you that after your arrival to the UK to work in a warehouse, you might be told that it is possible to work only for a few hours per week. In this situation, you must be lucky to earn at least to cover your basic expenses.

Another problem of working in warehouses can be the location, as they are usually located far away from the city centre and it is impossible to find another job nearby.

Coffee chains (Costa Café, Starbucks, Café Nero) or fast food restaurants (McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut)

It really depends, which job role you get, but very often there is the rotational system of work. This means that you can try all the roles and get in touch with customers. Therefore, the good English language is an advantage and later on even the requirement.

The flexible working hours and shifts are very positive aspects of this job. You can choose your shifts and coordinate your shifts with another job. You can also work overtime (more than 50 hours per week). You can get also tips that are not, especially in coffee houses, low at all.

Big disadvantage (especially for younger people) is salary, which is usually the minimum calculated according to your age.

To get such a job, you must fill in a special form on the official webpages. This form is filled in by hundreds of people, in order to get the same job.

In case you are chosen, you will be invited to the interview and if the feedback from both sides is positive, you can get a job. You should prepare all necessary documents (the forms), before your departure to the UK. You must remember, it is necessary to fill in the British address and mobile phone number, which is necessary for further communication.

Necessary arrival expenses

The departure to the UK is your first big step and major investment as well.

Why investment?

In all kinds of business, it is necessary to first invest and work hard and only then to see first results (income). I went through this process the same as my clients, other people around me and maybe also you in the future.

To be well prepared, you should know your budget and costs before your departure. I do not want to mention all exact prices, but just to give you a better picture of the situation. I am going to work with higher prices of products rather than low ones, as it depends on how you manage your expenses and the standard of living. Moreover, it is always better to calculate with higher prices and save some extra money, than to be tight on the budget.

The first month is the worst from the financial perspective. You are going to pay extra money for:

  1. Travelling to the UK (between £30 and 80, including the luggage)
  2. Accommodation and deposit (about £300 – 350 for accommodation and £ 100 – 150 for deposit)
  3. Tickets from the airport to the city centre (from £3 to 10)
  4. Ticket for the public transport in London (without any discount £146 per month, or around £40 per week)
  5. British SIM card (£10 for credit, sim cards are for free
  6. Other expenses (food, free time, etc.)

Based on my experience and my previous calculations, you should count with the amount of £800 – 950 for the first month. This amount might be lower, if you are very thrifty, it works the other way around as well, of course.

In the following months, you pay only for accommodation, transport, food and leisure. It would be £350 – 550, depending on the place you live, discounts for transport or the standard of living.

Examples of salaries, expenses, taxes and insurance

Mr. Smith arrived to London in order to find a job in mid-July 2016. He had CV and cover letter prepared. He had also the British SIM card. A few days before his arrival, he started sending the documents to restaurants and hotels in London.. He had an interview pre-arranged via mobile phone, where he went immediately after his arrival.

He had £950 in cash.

From the airport, he travelled to the city centre (£5), bought the Oyster Card and found the accommodation.

He paid for the first rent (4 weeks) and the deposit (£150), after his arrival. He bought a monthly ticket for transport (£146), as he did not know about the discount and had the first interview on the next day.

He continued sending his CVs and had some interviews during the following week. Later, he started his new job in a pub, which is next to the underground station Westminster.

Mr. Smith is a 26-year-old man, who got a job with the salary £7,20 per hour and should work for 8 hours per day and 5 days in a week. He has a possibility to have one meal during his shift and tips divided among 3 people (£10 per shift for each). All employees get their salaries once per month, always on the fifth day of the month.

National insurance is reduced from the salary automatically and it makes 12 % of his income.

1st recapitulation

£950 = first investment,
– £5 = ticket from the airport,
– £450 = first rent and deposit for the accommodation,
– £156 = monthly ticket for public transport, Oyster Card with a credit for the first ride,
– £100 = money spent on food.

In total: £239 = This is the amount that Mr. Smith can save during the first month after paying for all expenses.

He started with his job on Friday, 22nd July 2016 and worked for 8 shifts, each counted 8 hours (= 7,2 x 8 x 8 x = £460,8 – £55,296 for the National Insurance, which counts for 12 % of the income + £80 on tips that he got for 8 days of working). The first salary was £485,5, which he received on August, 5th 2016.

Amount for taxation is at £11, 000 and everything over is subject of taxes (20 %).

He visited pubs twice in that month and spend 40 pounds for beer. He also had to buy 3 shirts that cost £15.

2nd recapitulation

£239 = balance from the first investment,
+ £485,5 = salary in July,
– £40 = money spent in the pub,
– £15 = 3 shirts.

In total: £669,5 = This is the amount, which he had on the August, 5th 2016 when he received first regular salary.

He had to pay for the rent in the following month (£300) on August, 13th 2016. After the period of 4 weeks, he got a chance to pay his rent also once per week, but the amount is higher – £85 per week (£10 more than previously).

Furthermore, since August, 16th 2016 he had to pay for monthly ticket – £146. Last but not least, he had to pay his food until September, 5th (date of his next salary).

3rd recapitulation:

£669,5 = total amount that he had
– £300 = rent
– £146 = transport
– £100 = food.

In total: £123,5.

He worked 23 days (8 hours per day) in August. 7,2 pounds x 8 hours x 23 work days = £1 324,8 – £158,97 (12 % national insurance) + £230 (tips for 23 work days) = £1 395,83 (net income for August 2016).

In fact, Mr. Smith invested £950 at the beginning (+ extra expenses for administration, insurance, flight ticket, etc.). We can say that the first investment was around £1, 100.

Since July, 16th 2016 (his date of arrival), until September, 5th 2016 (date of his second salary), he earned £2, 065, 33. This amount was earned within 51 days of his stay in London.

It is easy to calculate that his first investment was easily returned and he could also pay for his accommodation, food, transport and free time. In case he would like to travel back to the Czech Republic, he would leave with extra £750 + his deposit for accommodation, which was £150 and was paid at the beginning.

You can clearly see that even over the period of 2 or 2,5 months, you can earn extra money that you might use fortravelling around the UK or for other activities. Therefore, it is not necessary to work all the time.

Of course, this was not a real example and you should count with some specifics in your case.

However, these results are based on experience of my clients or friends. Every single case is different, of course. It really depends on the length of searching for new jobs, the salary you get, tips, your expenses, etc.

In every case, you should try to save money and pay only for what is necessary. Do not hesitate to contact me and let me help you with saving money and giving you advice on how to save more not only on transport, but also on accommodation.