Self-employed holidays explained

As a contractor, you can take holidays and you are not limited to a certain number of days per year, because your time off is not paid by the client. These can be predetermined before your contracts start or requested during your contract.

A Contracts start and end date are predetermined, taking holidays should not affect the length of your contract unless there are any agreed special requests from yourself of the client. In rare circumstances the client may request for you to extend your contract for a few weeks, to cover for potential holiday taken. In this case you would need to sign a contract renewal.

Length of Holidays
You can take as many days off as you like, provided the client agrees that you do not need to provide your services during that time. If you wish to take long periods off work, then this is best arranged between contracts. It is possible to take days off at very short notice, providing this is a period of time that your absence will not affect the business or current project deadlines.

Prior to and during your contract:
The most important thing to consider when booking your holidays, is to ensure that you are keeping your clients happy. But at the same time taking advantage of the flexible lifestyle contracting brings. There are no rules for booking holidays when you are a contractor.

Here are some guidelines when dealing with existing clients re holiday:
Consider the timing and booking of holidays when discussing new contracts. Try not to plan or book any holidays within the month of a new contract, this could affect your chances of securing the contract. Don’t mention that you have holiday booked until you have received an offer. Having holidays already arranged might stop you before the interview stage. Once you have received an offer, check with the client that you can take any booked holidays off before signing the contract. If you would like to book a holiday, long weekend or just a day off during your contract, then simply request the time off from your client / line manager. You don’t think you will be offered a renewal from your current contract, or don’t want to renew then go ahead and book your holiday.

Extended holidays:
If you wish to take longer periods of time off, then this should be done between contracts. Always be make sure that following your time off  it could take between one week and a month to secure a new contract, unless you already have something lined up for a specific date. If you don’t have a new contract lined up and still wish to take an extended holiday period away from work. It is a good idea to start the search for your next contract during your existing contract, that way you have something to come back to immediately.

Be aware that most clients hire contractors on very short notice, so don’t leave yourself short or out of work for longer than you can justify.