How to cope if you need to work over the August bank holiday

Bank Holiday

The August bank holiday is rapidly approaching and, for many of us, it represents our last hurrah with our families and friends before kids return to school and life returns to (more-or-less) normal after six weeks of fun in the sun (well, this year at least).

But, for a contractor, how do you balance things if you have to work? At the end of the day, when you’re self-employed, it’s not always possible to have bank holidays off. You might have a deadline looming, or it might simply be a case of not being able to afford the day off. Whatever the reason, bank holidays are often things that happen to other people.

But the August bank holiday is the last one for a while. After this we don’t get any until Christmas – so how do you cope if you simply have to work?

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Self-employment and the gender pay gap

Gender Pay Gap

While improving, the extent of the UK gender pay gap – the difference in average earnings between men and women – remains significant.  An analysis by the BBC in April 2018 of the pay data submitted by 10,000 large firms revealed that nearly 80% of companies paid men more than women.  Further the BBC showed that men make up the majority of the higher-paid jobs and are paid bigger bonuses – in some industries up to 35% more.

A lot of the focus of the gender pay gap debate is on full time permanent staff, as they are who companies employing more than 250 people are required to report on by law. But that does not include freelance and contractor workers, an increasingly important part of today’s labour force, growing by 25% since 2009 and contributing an estimated £109bn a year to the UK economy, according to contractor trade body IPSE.  The question is whether the contracting and freelancing industries suffer a similar pay gap, particularly when you consider that the Pensions Policy Institute found women made up 97% of the net increase in self-employed workers last year?

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Making the switch to self-employment

Self-Employment

It’s happened. You’ve finally had enough of the day-to-day grind in your job, you’ve gone as far as you can, and now you’re ready to leave.

But you’re not planning on moving to another job. You’re planning on making the switch to self-employment.

Congratulations on taking such an exciting, life-changing and terrifying step. You’re going to have a blast as your own boss and, although it will be hard at times, you’ll never look back. But how do you get started?

Well, before you hand your notice in, there will be things you’ll want to do such as decide on your branding, build your website, set up your home office and start building a network. But there are other, slightly less glamourous things you’ll need to do before you even do any of that. Don’t worry though, we’re here to give you the lowdown.

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Working while on holiday: the great summer debate

Working on Holiday

In the days before smartphones, tablets, laptops and wi-fi it never used to be an issue, but now that everyone is connected every single second of every single day the question of whether or not to work while on holiday has become a bit of an issue.

When you’re an employee the decision isn’t quite so difficult to make. Quite often, before you leave to go on holiday, you handover any outstanding work to someone else, people ask will you be reachable, and you tell them yes or no (let’s face it, it’s nearly always no). However, when you’re a contractor or freelancer, it can be a bit more complex. For one thing, there’s quite often no one to hand your work over to so anything outstanding will still be sitting there when you get back. Not doing any work for a week or two will generally mean just not getting paid, and it can also prevent you from sourcing new clients.

All that being said, you’re a human being and, like everyone else, you need time to refresh and recharge. So, what are the pros and cons of working while on holiday?

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Getting more family time as a contractor or freelancer

Family Time

Between the World Cup, the constant stream of headlines about cabinet reshuffles, and the incredible rescue of the trapped boys in Thailand in July, you’d have been forgiven if you’d forgotten that the school summer holidays were right around the corner.

Now that those six weeks of no school are here many of us are reminded that we’d really like to be able to spend more time with our kids while they’re off (we also know that this is not true for all of us, all of the time and that’s fine too).

If you have a conventional nine-to-five job, this isn’t always the easiest thing. To spend time with the kids you need to use what precious little annual leave you have in reserve, and it’s not always easy to do during the summer holidays as everyone else has the same idea. So quite often the summer holidays go by with grandparents being the only people to spend any quality time with youngsters.

Of course, family time is one of the biggest motivators for people wanting to become self-employed. Most people want more of it and know that being their own boss is one of the best ways to get it.

But how do you make it work?

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Juggling school summer holidays and self-employment

Summer Holidays

While the school summer holidays are an amazing chance to spend more time with our kids – and those of us with youngsters will probably take a week or two off during this period to do just that – there are also a lot of childcare issues raised for those whose children are normally in school full time.

It can be a particular problem if you’re a contractor or freelancer who regularly works from home. Suddenly there are extra people in the house making noise and vying for your attention when you really need to finish that project by the deadline.

So, what can be done?

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Kingsbridge Introduces 1-Year Run-Off Cover

Run-Off Cover

When it comes to insurance, we understand that it’s a purchase most people want to make use of when they need it but think very little about when they don’t. If you’re a contractor it’s likely to be an essential part of your working life. But what happens when you down tools, or move into standard employment?

Most contractors assume that the end of a contract means the end of any liability. Unfortunately, that’s not actually the case. Claims can be made for months, or even years, after work has been completed.

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GDPR for contractors and freelancers: have you missed anything?

GDPR

We’ve updated our privacy policy.

Before you chuck your laptop or tablet across the room, don’t worry – we’re just kidding. Well, we have updated it, but that’s not what this blog is about.

We’re not telling you what you need to do if you want us to be able to stay in touch, but rather making sure you know how, as a contractor or freelancer, GDPR might have affected you and how it could affect your business if you don’t take action.

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How to be a more environmentally conscious contractor or freelancer

Environmentally Conscious

Whether it’s banning baby wipes, putting a tax on plastic bottles or Iceland removing plastic packaging and palm oil from their own brand ranges, it seems everyone is thinking more and more about the environment at the moment. And quite rightly too. We should all be doing our bit to clean up the planet and start reversing the damage humans have done over the centuries.

When you’re an employee, it’s quite easy. Most businesses have environmental policies that ensure all workers help keep the office green. But when you’re a contractor or freelancer, it’s up to you and you alone to do your bit when you’re not in a client’s workspace.

So how can you easily make sure you’re being more environmentally conscious? Here are our top tips.

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IR35 Trouble? We’ve got the cover for you

IR35

Regular readers of this blog will know that we’ve covered IR35 fairly extensively in the recent past. Whether we’re talking about the ins and outs of what it actually is or highlighting examples of contractors who’ve fallen foul of the legislation, we like to think of it as a subject we know well.

But there’s only so much talking we can do. Sometimes action has to be taken. That’s why we’ve recently introduced our Legal Expenses Plus policy, our cover designed to help you should you find yourself in the midst of an IR35 investigation.

An IR35 investigation is not something any contractor wants on their plate. Regardless of whether you’re found to be inside IR35 or not, it’s time consuming, stressful, and a likely drain on finances given the amount of effort you’ll have to put into defending yourself.

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