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Benefits of contracting
As a job seeker in today's marketplace, contract work can offer you the opportunity to advance your career in a flexible way that is more suited to your personal circumstances.
If you are highly experienced or a specialist in your field and are looking for a career change, why not consider sharing your insights as a contractor?
The benefits of contract work
Contract work offers many benefits, including the following.
- The ability to work in a variety of industries or focus your discipline.
- Flexibility in terms of the days and times you work.
- Opportunity to learn or advance technical skills.
- Greater exposure to different types of management styles and clients.
- Exposure to the different types of products offered in a particular industry.
Different industries refer to a ‘contract position’ in different ways. Generally though, contractors are employed for a fixed period – for example maternity leave cover. Contractors paid on a pro rata basis are placed on the client's payroll when they start work. Normally, for termination of contract both parties require a notice period.
Reasons companies need contractors
Companies employ people on a contractual basis for many reasons.
- Assistance with special projects.
- Cover for maternity leave or other absences.
- During particularly busy periods of the year.
- Analysing an employee's performance with a view to permanent employment.
Issues to consider
Whatever your reasons for entering contractual employment you should consider what that means for your Tax, National Insurance, holiday entitlements, pension payments and the experience required.
1. Tax and National Insurance
If you are working in the UK for the first time you will need to complete a P46 and apply for a National Insurance (NI) number. A P46 form can be obtained from your consultant. To apply for a National Insurance number, contact the Department of Social Security on 020 7712 2171, which will inform you of its nearest office. We strongly recommend that you obtain a NI number, as this registers your eligibility for state benefits, including free hospital and doctors' services.
2. Establishing a Limited Company
If you wish to work through a limited company, we recommend that you seek independent, professional advice regarding the set up and operation of such a company. This is particularly important in the light of the Government's anti-tax avoidance legislation, IR35. For further information on IR35, visit the Inland Revenue website: www.hmrc.gov.uk.
3. Staying in work
Professionalism and the maintenance of excellent relations with both your consultant and employer are crucial to ensure regular contract work. Update your consultant on your availability and any changes to your personal details e.g. address, phone numbers and email. Also, keep your CV up-to-date with any newly-acquired experience and skills learnt. In addition, contact your consultant well before your current contract nears completion.
4. Visa requirements
To be considered for temporary/contract roles, you must have the right to work in the UK. If you are not a British, EC or EEA national, we shall reject your application unless you have secured, or are eligible for, a UK visa. Unfortunately, we are not able to assist you secure sponsorship through a UK company.
If you are unsure about your visa status for the UK, please refer to https://www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk/Account/login for further information.