Contractors shying away from taking sick days

The majority of contractors have not taken a sick day in the past two years, research finds.

Some 53 per cent of contractors haven’t called in sick in the last two years, with 31 per cent of these having never called in sick, according to a study by Contracting Scout.

While 13 per cent of contractors stop working when ill, 52 per cent continue working if they are mildly unwell and 35 per cent soldier on unless they’re at death’s door.

Will Ryles, head of recruitment at Contracting Scout says, ‘There is of course a financial incentive for them to do so as they do not receive sick pay, but this also shows that if you want something done on time, contractors can be an excellent option.

‘It’s unfortunate that contractors seem under sustained attack by the government as it looks to remove many of the aspects that make contracting appealing, such as tax incentives, without offering anything in return.’

Most contractors seem happy with their working life, with three quarters (75 per cent) saying that they’d recommend becoming a contractor to others. The majority (60 per cent) also plan to continue contracting for at least the next two years, if not indefinitely, with 17 per cent wanting to stop in the next two years, and 22 per cent undecided.

Uncertainty around contracts

Of the 25 per cent who say they wouldn’t recommend contracting, the majority (62 per cent) cite worry about where the next contract would come from as the reason.

The study suggests this is a potential risk for the majority for contractors, with 60 per cent saying they had been out of work for more than a month at a time when they wanted to be working.

However, most contractors have prepared themselves well for gaps in employment. Some 52 per cent have three or more months’ worth of earnings set aside, while 72 per cent plan to increase the amount they have saved.

Ryles recommends that contractors have three months’ worth of earnings saved that they can draw on should they have unwanted time between contracts.

‘While it’s encouraging that the majority do have this, there’s still a lot of room for improvement as 7 per cent have less than a month’s earnings and 15 per cent have absolutely nothing to act as a buffer if it takes longer than expected to secure their next role.

‘With 60 per cent of those surveyed saying they’ve experienced a gap of more than a month between contracts, this is a sobering message for those with few resources to draw on.’

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