As a self-employed contractor you could be forgiven that the world of workplace benefits is firmly off the market, but you couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes your end clients benefits scheme will probably be off the table, but by working through an umbrella company you could get access to a host of employee benefits that not only make contracting easier but actually give back some of the fees you pay to the umbrella every week.

Employee benefits come in many shapes and sizes but they often include:

  • Public Liability Insurance Cover (about £3.84 per week)
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance Cover (about £5.19 per week)
  • Perkbox Rewards (about £6.09 per week)
  • Cycle to work schemes

If you’re paying an umbrella company £25 per week, then it’s important to offset that cost against some of the benefits you’d otherwise need to pay for out of your own pocket.

Read on for a breakdown of these benefits and how they can financially benefit the contractors that receive them.

Public Liability Cover – on average £200 per annum

As a contractor working through a Limited Company or as a self-employed worker, in order to step on site and fulfil your contract you are often required to provide your client with proof of your public liability insurance.

Public liability insurance protects, you, your client and their end customer in the event that you cause injury or loss to someone in the course of performing your role (though not through your actual resulting work). Say for example you’re in IT and you’re building a piece of software. In the course of making this software, you lose the memory stick that houses the data on it. In this event it’s your public liability insurance that foots the bill for the loss caused to your client rather than you, meaning that a blip in an otherwise perfect career won’t cost you your house.

Public liability insurance isn’t compulsory in the UK, but it is often a minimum requirement to engage with a client. While your work might take nine months to complete and the end result would be covered under your mandatory professional indemnity insurance cover, any mishap you encounter in the course of the nine months you take to reach the end result won’t be.

Professional Indemnity Insurance – on average £270 per annum

As mentioned above, unlike public liability insurance, professional indemnity insurance is a legal requirement. As an expert, you’d expect that every piece of work you do is top notch but sometimes things can go wrong and in the event that this is a result of your work, this is the insurance that will cover the bill.

Say for example you’re a railway engineer, and in the course of your inspections you miss a faulty signal, which in turn causes an accident. As a contractor you could be financially liable for the implications of that accident and as such unless you have professional indemnity insurance you could end up footing the bill.

Of course, no one wants to ever make a claim on their insurance but much like taking out car insurance, as a responsible contractor you need to ensure should the worst happen, you’re covered.

Perkbox (and other employee perk schemes) – a minimum of £317 per annum

Perkbox is the UK’s leading employee reward scheme and it’s becoming increasingly popular amongst high end umbrellas that want to give a little more back to their loyal customers.

The perks are pretty straight forward, with 90% consisting of money off vouchers at leading retailers for example:

  • Exclusive Odeon, London Eye & National Attraction Offers
  • 5% off at Ikea
  • 8% off Just Eat
  • 8% off at M&S
  • 10% off at Debenhams
  • 10% off at Charles Tyrwhitt
  • 15% off at New Look

However there are a few big winners that you can benefit from as soon as you join your umbrella company including:

  • 20% off EE monthly phone bills (worth £96)
  • Free Mobile Phone insurance (worth £179)
  • 12 Free Coffees from Café Nero (worth £42)

Ignoring the plethora of other discounts on offer, these three offers alone will net you a benefit of £6.09 per week.

Employee benefits can add up fast

If you combine both contractor insurances and perkbox, the average contractor on £50,000 per annum can expect to benefit to the tune of around £15 per week. Compare that to an umbrella fee of £25 per week and net weekly cost is actually just £10.

For more information on umbrella companies, the benefits they offer and how these will affect your net take home after tax, compare umbrella companies online today.