Taking holiday as a contractor
While most Limited Company contractors are happy to be working as much as possible, we all need a bit of time off during the year. Taking a break to simply re-charge or to spend time with family is an important factor in maintaining a healthy work/life balance. This can be especially true around the Christmas season as this can be such a hectic time of social and family activities. If you’ve worked hard all year it’s perfectly understandable that you’ll want to relax and fully enjoy this time. As a contractor you are your own boss. In theory, this means it’s possible to take as much holiday time as you want, whenever you feel like it. In practice, it’s sensible to take a few key factors into account when planning your holiday breaks. These will not only help you have a more relaxing time off, they’ll also help make sure that your valuable clients remain happy.
Tips for contractors taking holiday time
Consider your bank balance – Some contractors take holidays during natural breaks between contracts. If you have the flexibility to do this it can be a good way to get your holiday time in during the year. It can work especially well if you have already secured your next contract. However, if you don’t have a contract to come back to, remember that winning your next contract may take a few weeks which could mean a slight pause in your income, although this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take any holiday of course.If you’re taking time off within a contract, just think through the financial impact as this will be unpaid leave.
- Make sure your client’s needs are met – While working in a contract the client’s needs should always be a priority consideration. Don’t disappear when they need you most! If this is unavoidable, if you’re working outside IR35, you may be entitled to offer a substitute to complete the work in your absence. If you choose to do this, make sure that the substitute is genuinely of the same standard as you are or you could not only upset your client, you could also be in breach of your contract. Where possible, take your breaks during quiet periods as it’s unlikely that clients will have an issue with holidays if they’re not paying for the time.
- Be realistic about how much time to take off – It would usually be prudent not to take breaks of more than two weeks at once. One of the reasons for this is that this would be the usual maximum for most salaried employees. Of course, things can vary between clients as there are no fixed rules, but if you’re looking for a contract extension or future work with the client then stick to their rules.
- Check your contract details – It’s possible to include a specific periods of absence provision in a contract, but not many contractors do this. If you have exact dates that you will want time off during a contract though, it’s worth including this if you can. Some contracts may stipulate that time off may not be taken within the first month, or until a specified deliverable is completed, so check your contract before informing your client of an absence to avoid any potential conflicts.
With just a little planning, you can relax and enjoy the time off you’ve earned without upsetting your clients or risking your financial health.
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.