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Top 5 Questions from Umbrella Company Employees

Questions Asked by Umbrella Company Employees

As a responsible umbrella company, we’re always keen to provide the information our employees actually need. Based on our inbound call data, here are the top 5 questions our umbrella company employees asked over the last few months, along with answer from our experts.

When will I be paid?

This answer to this question varies depending on which agency you’re working with, and it should have been answered during your induction. The first place to check will be the welcome email we sent you shortly after you registered with us. Your welcome email contains lots of useful information so if you don’t have it to hand, let us know and we’ll resend it.

New employees often ask this question out of anxiety, confirming that everything is in order as their first pay day approaches. We understand this, and of course if you feel more comfortable calling us, by all means, contact our Contractor Support team. However, we can confidently say that you will be paid when we said you would.

When pay-day arrives, we’ll send you a text message to confirm that we’ll pay you that day, and another once the payment has been made. The exact time we send these out can vary, depending on how many payments our payroll specialists have to process, so if you receive your text later than usual please don’t be alarmed. You can manage your text alerts using the settings page of our online portal.

Payslip queries

Coming in at number 2 are queries about your payslip, or about how your pay was calculated. You can find a detailed explanation of how we calculate your pay here. It might be helpful to work through this explanation with your pay documents, so you can see exactly what each detail means.

During your registration we would usually complete a pay illustration for you, to give you an idea of what to expect. While this is only an illustration, our calculator is quite detailed so if the information you gave us was correct it should match your actual pay. Where your pay is not what you expected, it’s usually because the information entered into the calculation did not match what actually happened, for example your tax code may be different, or you might have worked a different number of hours.

Each time you’re paid we’ll e-mail you a payment calculation and a payslip which together will show exactly how we’ve calculated your pay.

If you still have questions about your payslip, feel free to call our Contractor Support team who will be happy to help.

I’ve paid more/less tax than expected

Our payroll specialists are extremely experienced, and our processes and systems are extremely robust. We can say with great confidence that the amount of tax you paid is correct, given the information we have. If you’ve paid more or less than you expected, the most likely explanation is that you have a non-standard tax code.

Your tax code tells us your personal allowance of tax free pay. For example, in tax year 2020/21 the standard tax code is 1257L, which gives you an annual allowance of £12,570. If your tax code is different from this, it will affect the amount of tax you pay.

It’s important to note that we, as your employer, don’t set your tax code; we receive it either in your P45, the declaration you completed during registration, or instructions sent to us by HMRC.

If you have a non-standard tax code and you’re not sure why, contact HMRC on 0300 200 3300. They may need our PAYE reference which is 951 JZ 77244. If your tax code is incorrect they will send us an instruction to change it. HMRC’s website has more information about various tax codes and what they mean.

If your tax code shows on your payslip as 1250L and you’ve still paid more or less tax than you expected, please contact our Contractor Support team who will look into it for you.

Why have I paid tax on my chargeable expenses?

Chargeable expenses are expenses that the agency or client may agree to reimburse. We need to assess every expense to ensure the payment receives the correct tax treatment when we pay you. Depending on your circumstances, some items may be taxable, while others can be paid to you tax free. It’s important that these rules are followed correctly, for your protection and ours. 

For example, if you’re working under supervision, direction or control (SDC) we’re not able to reimburse you for tax free travel and subsistence expenses when you travel to your normal workplace. This is still the case when your agency or client pay us for these expenses.

When you claim expenses from your agency or client, you also need to complete a corresponding chargeable expense claim on our online portal. We will assess each item on your claim, and we’ll reimburse whatever is allowable as tax free expenses in your particular circumstances. Where an item is not allowable as a tax-free expense, it will be subject to tax and national insurance.

If you have any questions about expenses or need help submitting your claim, please contact our Contractor Support team.

Do I need to submit a timesheet/how do I submit a timesheet?

We use the timesheet process on our online portal to generate the invoices we send to your agency or client. More and more recruiters are switching to a self-billing process, which means you might not need to submit timesheets to us. Your agency/client will have a timesheet process that they need you to follow, whether or not you need to submit them to us. If you’re not sure of their process, please check with them.

Your welcome email will let you know whether you need to submit timesheets to us. Once again, if you don’t have this let us know and we’ll resend it.

If you do need to submit timesheets to us, you can do so using the timesheets page of our online portal. Invoices are generated automatically from the information you enter, so it’s important that they match the timesheets you submit to your agency/client.

The process itself is straightforward and will usually only take a few minutes, but if you need help submitting your timesheets, our Contractor Support team will be able to help.

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