Queen's Platinum Jubilee sends contractor payrolls out of whack

The extended four-day bank holiday weekend thanks to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations appears to have wreaked a bit of havoc on contractor payrolls.

Compass Contracting said that although its team eventually “nailed it,” paying contractors by the end of the week -- when that week ended on a Wednesday -- had its challenges.

“Many of us [were] embracing the fact it’s only a three-day week”, began Compass co-founder Ashley Olliver, referring to last week’s bank holiday weekend starting on Thursday.

'Few headaches'

He added: “However it can cause the world of contractor payroll a few headaches! Getting things turned around in such a short amount of time [is not for the faint-hearted].”

Others in the umbrella community simply wanted to know if they could get paid for Friday (also a bank holiday), amid whispers that as employees, a normal day of pay was entitled.

But formerly of HM Revenue & Customs and now specialising in resolving disputes, Thomas Wallace clarified the legal position.

'No requirement on employers to give paid bank holiday leave'

Now with WTT Consulting, he said: “There is no legal requirement for an employer to give paid leave for a bank holiday. If it is in your contract with the umbrella, then they will pay it.

“Remember though, the umbrella is your employer -- not your end-client,” emphasised Mr Wallace, addressing umbrella contractors.

“[So don’t] expect your end-client to pay for a day's work not done. That means this is not free money. Anything your umbrella pays you will have already been withheld from your day rate.”

'Limited company can pay you for bank holidays'

Online, one freelance manager said such a clarification should not be needed, because contractors ought to know they, ‘only get paid for the hours they actually work.’

But not necessarily, or at least not necessarily for contractors who operate through their own limited company.

“Your own company can happily pay you for bank holidays,” advises Elaine Richardson, a business analyst consultant, formerly of ECR Consulting.

“Mine always did. Whether a client will pay you for time not worked, that’s another matter. I wouldn’t bank on it.”  

'Milestones don't make a leader'

The four days’ downtime to celebrate Her’s Majesty Elizabeth II’s 70 years as the UK monarch afforded other business professionals time to reflect too.

“Celebrations and milestones don’t make a leader,” posted workplace well-being adviser Lee Chambers, himself crowned in 2021, albeit as Great British Entrepreneur of the Year.

“I’m not exactly a royalist, but one particular event convinced me of the Queen’s lasting leadership legacy.

“Only a year ago, she was present at the funeral of her partner of 69 of those years on the throne. Sat alone.”

Mr Chambers continued: “[So] as with all true leaders, [Her Majesty] decided to use her privilege to send a message that she is no different than the people she serves -- a stark contrast to some ‘leaders’ who were having parties, throwing wine around and moving [about during lockdown] as they pleased.”

'True example of female leadership'

An HR director, Stacey Kingshott, isn’t so sure milestones are meaningless as a testament to leadership.

“[The Platinum] Jubilee [is a] true example of female leadership at its best. The Queen has sacrificed her life to serve us over 70 years, overseeing 14 Prime Ministers.”

Posting on LinkedIn, Kingshott described the Queen as a real-life example of “overcoming adversity and adapting to change.”

'Admirable'

And it seems Elizabeth II being the longest-serving monarch in British and Commonwealth history (and soon world history), is inspiring others to make sacrifices.

Reacting to a contractor’s thread, a project manager commended: “Didn't you tell me you were going to donate [your] Jubilee pay if you were entitled to it? I thought it was a very admirable thing to offer up. Well done.”

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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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