Operating as an umbrella company contractor brings with it many benefits, including increased flexibility in your job and the opportunity to set your own pay rate, to name just a few.
But if you work as a contractor, what are your rights if you become ill or get injured and are therefore unable to do your job properly, but still need to support yourself and your family?
Here, we'll explain your sick pay rights as an umbrella company contractor, as well as how PayStream could help if you sustain an injury in your workplace.
Umbrella company contractor rights
When you choose to work as an umbrella company contractor, you become the employee of the umbrella company meaning that, dependant on fulfilling criteria, you are entitled to a certain amount of statutory sick pay, meaning you won't necessarily be left out of pocket if you need to take some time off work.
To qualify for statutory sick pay in the first place, you will need to have been off work ill for four consecutive working days and have notified your employer within 7 days - here, this term refers to your umbrella company, as well as the client you are currently carrying out a contract for.
At the moment, you do not usually need a sick note or to have visited the doctors to receive payment for your first week of sickness. However, if your sickness continues past 1 week you would be required to provide a sick note from your doctor.
In addition, you need to earning more than the lower earnings limit and have at least one 'qualifying day' each week. This term simply refers to a day in which you usually work - most commonly this will be Monday to Friday.
For those who require the benefit due to a serious illness, the money can be claimed for up to 28 weeks continuously (or linked payments - see below). If it is needed for longer than this, it will depend entirely on the circumstances as to whether or not you can continue to receive some sort of financial support through the job centre or other government body.
The first three days of statutory sick pay are classed as waiting days and are unpaid. However, if an instance of sickness is linked with another period of sickness then there are not waiting days on the second instance.
Linked periods of sickness are classed as being fewer than 56 days apart from each other, with both instances lasting for at least four consecutive days. If there is a larger gap than 56 days between illnesses that require you to take time off work, you may have to wait three days before you receive any payment.
If you're suffering from a particularly long-term illness, statutory sick pay may not be enough to help you, so it is always wise to consider alternatives, such as by making sure you save throughout your working life by putting away a little cash each month.
How could PayStream rewards help?
Not only can taking advantage of PayStream's umbrella service help contractors manage their finances, but it can also provide such workers with a number of rewards, one of which is particularly relevant to those concerned about illness or injury impacting their job.
PayStream Rewards allow contractors to access personal accident insurance, which covers any injuries sustained in the workplace.
To ensure you are not struggling financially should an injury occur, up to £300 per week for 52 weeks can be paid if a contractor is no longer able to work, while more serious accidents resulting in disability can see employees receive up to £30,000.
In the tragic event of a death caused by an incident at work, those registered for the reward scheme will be eligible for a lump sum to be paid to their next of kin.
However, it is not just cover against injuries sustained at work that PayStream Rewards can help with, as the scheme also offers members the chance to receive cash back at a number of leading supermarkets, alongside exclusive discounts from a variety of retailers.