Holiday and sick pay – what is your entitlement?
Taking time off work, whether it’s planned or otherwise is rarely an issue for permanent staff, as their pay is usually undisrupted as it’s covered by the terms of their employment. So what happens when you’re a contractor and you’re not covered by the same terms? We’ve put together this blog to highlight some handy hints and tips to help you prepare for any time out of contracting – planned or otherwise.
Planned time off – annual leave
We love a good holiday here at Intouch Accounting, and believe it’s never too soon to be planning your next great adventure. With Christmas not too far off, and a whole world of possibilities when it comes to holiday destinations for next year, now is the time to plan ahead for your expected time off. Most importantly when doing so we like to ensure our clients have considered how their planned breaks will not leave them out of pocket.
So how do you achieve this?
Firstly with the help from your Intouch Personal Accountant of course! A quick chat with them will reveal how to best plan your breaks and the impact (be it big or small) taking that time out will have.
When it comes to scheduling time off, it’s a good idea to firstly consider your current contract and whether there’s a natural break between it ending and your next one starting. This would be a perfect time to book some time off, as it will fall within a natural break in contracts and will cause the least amount of disruption. It will also mean you’re super refreshed and ready to tackle your new contract once it starts.
Unscheduled time off – such as sick leave or bereavement
Sometimes we all need to take unscheduled time off work, and rarely is it foreseen.
If a permanent employee takes time off due to illness, they’re entitled to claim £89.35 per week in Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for a maximum of 28 weeks. As a contractor and therefore employee or your Limited Company, you’re also entitled to the same.
Whilst SSP can be a welcome stream coming into your account, it will certainly be nowhere near the amount you’re used to from your contracting wage. So it’s worth having a contingency plan in place to ensure you’re covered for such eventualities.
1. Build a good bounty in your Limited Company bank account
Taking any time off (planned or otherwise) will ultimately cost your business, so it’s worth putting in the time now to plan ahead. When planning your finances, ensure you account for at least 48 weeks, leaving you 4 to cover holidays and sickness (or more if you plan to take more time off). You’ll also need to consider the 8 annual bank holidays, as that’s another benefit permanent staff get which contractors don’t.
After you’ve considered how much you should set your rates at (depending on how much time you’ll be setting aside), you’re then able to work out the amount in salary and dividends needed to cover your annual holiday and sick leave costs.
2. Insure yourself to the hilt
Finding the right insurance package can be a Limited Company contractor’s dream. For holiday and sickness pay, you should consider taking out the following two types insurance:
Income protection insurance: which replaces your income with a monthly payout should you be unable to work due to an accident, unemployment or ill health
Critical illness cover: will pay you a tax-free lump, during the term of the policy, if you’re diagnosed with a specific illness or medical condition that’s listed within your policy terms and conditions
When shopping around for the right package, ensure you deal with insurance specialists who understand the contractor market, your needs and any potential issues you may face.
Our accountants here at Intouch Accounting have a good working knowledge of Limited Company contractor insurance products, insurance providers and the insurance industry as a whole. They’re on hand to advise you on the best insurance firms to approach for a quote (spoiler alert: our insurance provider of choice is Kingsbridge Insurance).
Contact us today for a no-obligation chat about your work situation.
This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.