Q. I am currently a self employed contractor (limited company) for one of the large banks, via a contracting agency. The bank has advised that all staff including contractors must take 2 weeks time off during the year for their ‘wellbeing’. For permanent staff this is a paid holiday – for contractors it is not. So we are suddenly faced with a shortfall of 10 day rates. Is this legal? Will it affect my status with HMRC if I am in effect being treated as a permanent member of staff?
A. This a contractual matter rather than one of employment status.
If your contract states the contract can be suspended for holiday periods you will be not be provided work for these periods.
This will normally cover national holidays like Easter, Christmas and New Year’s when the majority of company’s do not operate.
If your contract does not have such a provision you will not be obliged to take the time off. If it is enforced on you, you will be able to argue a breach of contract.
Contractors should bare in mind the risk that a refusal to be flexible could result in their contract being terminated with the agreed contractual notice served on them.
Before signing a contract please read it carefully to avoid any conflicts arising. Where a dispute arises speak to your Agency and see if they can resolve the matter for you by mediation.
This answer was provided by Quest.