Planning a Merry Christmas as a Contractor

12/02/2021 - 13:04

When you work for yourself and you only get paid for the time you work, it can be difficult to switch off from work.

Whether you’re a limited company contractor or you work through an umbrella company, it’s important you try and maintain a healthy balance between work and life. And for many, one of the best times to do this is at Christmas.

In this blog post, we’ll talk about a few of the things you might need to think about now if you want to make sure you have a happy time with the family over the festive season.

Will I need to work over Christmas?

This will depend on your client and the contract you’ve agreed with them. If a company’s permanent employees finish on Christmas Eve and aren’t back in until January, then it’s unlikely you’ll be forced to go in over the holidays.

If you know that your client will be open over Christmas then you may need to dig a little deeper to find out if you can get time off. You should check your contract for important provisions about taking time off, working on bank holidays and holiday requests.

Remember, if your client is quiet over the Christmas break then it’s probably going to be easier to agree some time off - even if there’s nothing in your contract.

Do I have any other options to get time off at Christmas?

With some smart pre-planning you might never need to work over Christmas again.

  • Time contracts to finish at Christmas time

One of the best things about being a contractor is that you can take as much (or as little) time off as you want between contracts. As a contractor, you will have at least some control over when your contracts start and finish, so (with a bit of luck) you could try to time a contract so it finishes just before the Christmas period before taking some time to spend with your family.

  • Send a substitute in your place

If you are a genuine limited company contractor working on an outside IR35 contract, then you should be able to send a substitute to complete work in your place. This isn’t to say that it will be easy to find someone to fill in for you (especially someone who doesn’t mind working over the holidays), but if you really need to get time off then it’s definitely an option worth exploring.

Can I be forced to take time off at Christmas?

As always, there’s another side to this coin. Many contractors don’t get paid unless they work, so some want to continue working over the holidays, especially because it is an expensive time of year.

Again, you’ll need to check your contract to see if you can be forced to take time off over the holidays. If you are, there are some things you can do to lessen the financial blow of Christmas.

You might be able to work overtime in the weeks leading up to Christmas Day. This will allow you to enjoy a break while also bringing home the same monthly pay packet.

For more information speak to a member of the team today. Call: 0800 121 6513.