Sickness and holiday pay
When contracting through your own Limited Company you’ll be aware that you’re not entitled to the same access to sickness and holiday pay as permanent employees are. So it’s up to your company to make provisions for your absences – planned or otherwise.
Louisa Drewett, Director of Accounting and Tax at Intouch Accounting, advises her clients; ‘to set aside at least 4 weeks out of their annual contractor take home pay to ensure they’ll have enough time for holidays, birthdays, potential sickness and general time off.’
As a contractor, you can claim up to £88.45 per week (up to a limit of 28 weeks) in Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from your Limited Company if you have to take time off through illness. Remember that it’s your Limited Company that bears this cost and that it cannot be reclaimed from HMRC.
SSP will probably not even come close to what you’d expect to earn per week as a contractor, so you will need a backup plan…
Aim to keep a sum in reserve to tide you over in the event of sickness.
What about protection?
It’s also sensible to consider insurance:
- Income protection insurance – pays an income if you’re unable to work due to illness or accident.
- Critical illness cover – pays out a lump sum if you get one of the specific medical conditions or injuries listed in the policy.
- Life insurance – pays your dependants money as a lump sum or as regular payments if you die.
When shopping around for insurance, remember that traditional insurance providers may not offer the cover you need. Your contractor accountant may also be able to offer some advice on who you should approach for a quote.
As a contractor, you’re your own boss, so in theory you can plan and take holidays whenever you wish, but bear in mind that you won’t receive holiday pay. For your personal and professional health, it’s vital to get some downtime. If you take this between contracts when a natural break is expected, it will impact your income. You will be revitalised and less likely to have “slumps” where you lose motivation, which in turn impacts on your income.
Consider your finances; can you afford a break at the time you’re considering one and if so, for how long? Remember you’ve also got to pay for the holiday itself!
It’s prudent to squirrel away money throughout the year into a holiday fund.
When it comes to holidays, cut your coat according to your cloth. It may have to be a weekend in Whitby rather than a fortnight in Florida (not that there’s anything wrong with Whitby), but you’ll benefit from the rest just the same.
Remember to ensure you pay your downtime and health the same level of attention as you do for your contracting career. One cannot exist without the other, so take care of both.
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.