There are loads of benefits to being self-employed, but one tradeoff is that you’ll have to fund your own holidays. This is because you are not classed as a worker or employee, so you do not have the same employment rights

Unfortunately, self-employed people are not entitled to the same benefits, like paternity allowance or holiday pay. As the business owner, you’re directly linked to your company finances. That means if money isn’t going into the business, you’re not getting paid. 

But even though you’re not getting paid time off, you can still arrange a holiday for yourself –– it’ll just take some extra work.

In this article, we’ll walk you through:

  • What is holiday pay?
  • What are the exemptions?
  • How can I take a holiday when I’m self-employed?

What is holiday pay?

Almost all employees and workers are entitled to at least 5.6 weeks of holiday a year. The number of days you get can vary depending on your work schedule, and it’s easy to work out how many days you should get. 

Days worked per week X 5.6 = Days holiday per year

In this example, a part-timer working three days a week would get a minimum of 16.8 days (3×5.6). During this holiday time, employees can expect their regular salary while getting some much-needed rest.

In order to break up your time, it can be helpful to work out how much holiday you would get if you were a salaried employee. Once you have, then commit yourself to taking that time off –– it doesn’t have to be all at once. 

By using some holiday days here and there, instead of a big chunk, you can reduce any income stress you may have about taking time off. Taking short breaks through the year can also help you manage your business’ workload more effectively.

What are the exemptions?

Depending on your circumstances, it is possible that you can receive holiday pay, but not for your business. You would need to be a registered employee for another company, and have built up (accrued) holiday time. 

For example, if you worked for Company X full time and worked for your business in the evenings, then you would receive appropriate holiday pay from Company X. You would still not receive any holiday pay for your own business.  

Alternatively, depending on how you work and your contract, you may be considered a worker. A worker is a person who is contracted to work for a specific company, rather than for customers and clients. 

Also, if you offer your services through an agency, it is possible to be regarded as an employee of that agency. If this is the case, you may be entitled to holiday pay. It is best to look at any contracts you have to help figure out if you’re entitled to any paid time off.

How can I take a holiday when I’m self-employed?

Since you’re self-employed, the only way you can take holiday pay is if you take the money out of your business. This can be daunting, especially if your cash flow is relatively limited. There are a couple of ways around that, which can make the idea of taking a holiday a lot easier. You can even combine the methods below, depending on what works for you and your business.

Save up

If you know you want to take a holiday at a certain time of year, you can plan ahead. Set aside a portion of your company’s income every month. Once you feel comfortable with the amount saved, you can use that as a DIY ‘self-employed holiday pay’. 

Long weekend breaks

If your business needs regular supervision, you may feel uncomfortable leaving it for an extended amount of time. In that case, you can take long weekend breaks instead. Rather than booking two weeks in Majorca, spend a few days in the Lake District. You’ll be able to get away and relax, without being gone for too long.

Schedule your clients

Rather than letting your clients dictate your life, try and arrange them to suit your needs. This doesn’t always work perfectly, but if you run a cleaning business, for example,  then you may be able to organise a week or two without any appointments. After your holiday, you’ll be ready and recharged to get back to work. 

Take it with you

If you only need your laptop to keep working, why not take it with you? A freelance web designer can do the same work from their home office, or at a cafe on the Amalfi Coast. You can even make the most of your freedom, and work while travelling around the world –– as long as it doesn’t impact your work.

How Countingup can simplify your finance management

Trying to figure out your finances alone can be confusing, especially if you’re trying to keep track and plan a much-needed holiday. That’s why thousands of business owners use the Countingup app to make their financial admin easier. 

Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. With features like automatic expense categorisation, invoicing on the go, receipt capture tools, tax estimates, and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are.

Save yourself hours of accounting admin so you can free up your schedule and take a break. 

Sign up for a Countingup business account today to get a 3 month free trial.