How to prepare for unplanned time off

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There may come a time when for unforeseen circumstances you have to take time off during an assignment.  As a contractor, it is your responsibility to ensure any projects or commitments you have previously made are addressed and handled in a professional manner.

To help, here are three points to consider when taking unplanned time off:

Informing your client

One of the first things you need to do is to immediately inform your client of your absence and let them know why you need time off and when you will return. To help support them, put together a plan to cover your commitments so nothing is left in the air.

Bringing in a substitute

One of the best ways to ensure you’re viewed as an independent contractor, is to negotiate the addition of a substitution clause to your contract. Some clients are understandably nervous about accepting a replacement, in case the same standards are not met.

To calm your client’s fears of taking on a substitute, it’s vital you choose an experienced professional who possess a strong set of skills to take on your project. Even though they will only be temporary, you have to assure your client that the high standard you have set will not slide.

The ability to send a substitute is also important to contractors if they have to take a big chunk of time off due to illness. This will allow them to continue the project without a hitch and meet their client’s expectations.

Covering yourself financially

Taking time off work will have some impact on your finances, but if you’ve built up a “warchest”, you will have a comfortable safety net to fall back on. We would recommend setting aside some of your savings specifically to cover any interruptions in your income, because even though it’s just a possibility, it will prevent your lifestyle taking any devastating hits.

It would also be wise to have some family and individual insurance in place, so you are covered if you face critical illness or require income protection or life cover.

ClearSky Business can offer you expert financial advice for all your requirements. We provide business protection, pensions, mortgages, regular and lump sum investment, ISA planning and family and individual protection.  Find out more here.

Have your say

Are you a contractor? What measures do you have in place if you have to take unplanned time off? Join in the discussion on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

Clearsky Contractor Accounting Ltd is an Appointed Representative of Jelf Insurance Brokers Ltd who is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).