Contractor FAQs

Contractor FAQs
(Frequently Asked Questions)

As a contractor, you need an umbrella company that makes contractor payroll easy to understand. Below, we have put together some Contractor FAQ to use our PAYE (Pay As You Earn) umbrella payroll service. Alternatively, you can contact our expert team using the button below.

What is a PAYE umbrella company?

A PAYE (Pay As You Earn) umbrella payroll company is a payroll service provider offering their payroll services to any fixed term contractor, freelancer, and recruitment agency.

Why should I use an umbrella company?
It gives you more freedom and can be more tax-efficient, especially if you work on multiple assignments for multiple recruitment agencies. A compliant umbrella payroll provider will provide you with complete peace of mind with the confidence that your payroll is being managed correctly.
What is an umbrella company margin?

An umbrella company margin is an amount of money an umbrella company deducts in return for the services they supply.

How does an umbrella company work out contractor take-home pay?
An umbrella company calculates your take-home pay by first deducting the employment costs, employers NICs, any employer pension contributions, company margin and holiday pay provision. The remaining amount plus any holiday pay is subject to standard UK tax deductions of PAYE (Pay As You Earn) Income tax, employee NICs and any further employee pension contributions.
How do I get paid through an umbrella company?
To be paid by an umbrella payroll company, you need to enrol with them, supplying them with your standard right to work documentation. Once enrolled, you will become one of their employees, with full employment rights.
How do I join Unified Payroll?

To Join Unified Payroll, please contact 01268 669979, they will clearly outline the whole process, ensuring you understand how everything works. Our team will supply you with an umbrella company guide and an illustration of your projected take-home pay.

What documents do I need to join Unified Payroll?

To enrol with Unified Payroll, you will need to supply:

  • Proof of ID,
  • Proof of your home address,
  • Proof of any work permit or other document confirming your working status within the UK,
  • Proof of your National Insurance number,
  • and proof of a UK bank account in your name.

A full list of acceptable documents is listed within our umbrella company guide.

What Is an employment contract?
An employment contract is your overarching employment contract with Unified Payroll containing all of your employment rights and benefits.
I decided to Join Unified Payroll, when do I get my employment contract?
We will prepare your employment contract as soon as you have enrolled with Unified Payroll.
What happens if I change my recruitment agency or client company?

If you change your recruitment agency or client company please advise us before you start the assignment so we can issue new contracts.

Are agency workers regulations included in my employment contract?
Yes, AWR (Agency Worker Regulations) are included within your employment contract, we stringently follow AWR regulations.
I work for multiple agencies can you still help?

We provide an overarching employment contract allowing you to work on numerous assignments for numerous agencies while being employed by Unified Payroll.

What is my holiday entitlement?

You have the right to 28 days paid leave, including bank holidays, although you could be entitled to more under AWR (Agency Workers Regulations).

If you work on a casual basis or very irregular hours, your holiday entitlement is calculated as a percentage of your hours, so 28 days holiday per year is equivalent to 12.07% hours. We then use 12.07% to calculate your holiday entitlement per hour or days worked.

Can I get my holiday paid in different ways?

There are two ways we can pay you your holiday pay; this is shown below:

Held Back (Accrued) Holiday Pay - Holiday Pay can be held back in a holiday fund which you can apply for when you take time off. We calculate 12.07% of your gross taxable income and retain this amount gross. This gross income will be taxed when you take a holiday and get your holiday pay. You will need to inform us when you would like this paid out via email.

Held back (Accrued) Holiday Pay - Holiday Pay can be paid as a weekly value, a combination of weeks that you have accrued or as a total accumulated holiday amount.

What is SMP (Statutory Maternity Pay)?

Qualifying criteria must be met before you can apply for SMP (Statutory Maternity Pay) and SPP (Statutory Paternity Pay). The current rate is £148.68 per week for both.

For SMP, the main criteria is continuous employment with your employer for a minimum of 26 weeks before the qualifying week (the 15th week before your due date).

What is SSP (Statutory Sick Pay)?

Should you be off work for more than four consecutive days with a valid GP note, subject to qualification, we will initiate SSP (Statutory Sick Pay) on your behalf. The standard rate for SSP is £94.25 per week (2019-20). Statutory sick pay is paid on your usual payment date.

Do I get a payslip when using Unified Payroll?

We supply a payslip every time we process payroll for you.

How regularly do you do contractor pay runs?

We run multiple payrolls daily from Monday to Friday.

Can I claim expenses with Unified Payroll?

You may able to claim some expenses if your job role does not fall under the supervision, direction and control regulation of IR35. For further details, please refer to our umbrella guide for contractors.

What pension scheme do you use?
All eligible contractors with Unified Payroll will be auto-enrolled into our pension scheme with government-backed pension provider NEST. You will be auto-enrolled into our pension scheme after 12 weeks of continuous employment with Unified Payroll. To be enrolled in our pension scheme, you must be;
  • Aged 22 or over and under state pension age,
  • and your earnings being more than £182 gross in the week you are assessed.
Is auto-enrolment into a pension scheme compulsory?

Yes, auto-enrolment is compulsory if you meet the qualifying criteria.

Can I opt-out from pension contributions?

Once you have been auto-enrolled, you have the freedom to opt-out within four weeks of auto-enrolment.

Can I re-join a pension scheme If I have opted-out?

If you wish to opt back into our pension scheme, please contact us at your earlier convenience.

Why do I have a deduction for student loans?

If you have a student loan, these are repayable from any job that you perform, depending on what student loan plan you are (plan 1 or plan 2) will determine what threshold you need to achieve before you start repaying this. More information is contained within

I have further questions, who do I contact?

If you have any further questions, please call our very helpful and knowable team on 01268 669979 or email

Contact Us

If you have any questions about joining our PAYE umbrella scheme, HMRC guidelines, IR35, or AWR legislation, you can contact our expert sales team.

Our sales team are available Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.

Call us: 01268 669979 Option 1

Email us:

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