More than half (54 per cent) of UK freelancers and contractors are satisfied with the amount of time they take off annually, despite the fact that at least 68 per cent take less holiday than the average full-time UK employee is given, research by leading contractor tax adviser, Qdos Contractor of The Qdos Group highlights.

The average full-time UK employee is entitled to 28 days paid annual leave, while only 32 per cent of freelancers and contractors take holiday anywhere near that amount, with 22 days or more holiday annually.

Of the 715 freelancers and contractors surveyed, Qdos Contractor research highlights:

16 per cent take less than ten days holiday per year
27 per cent take between ten and 15 days annually
25 per cent enjoy between 16 and 21 days each year
32 per cent allow themselves 22 days or more holiday annually

Seb Maley, CEO of Qdos Contractor comments, ‘That the majority of freelancers and contractors are happy with the amount of holiday they take each year reflects that independent workers are by and large enjoying a healthy work/life balance, despite the fact that at least 68 per cent do not take as much holiday as full-time UK employees.

‘This dispels any myth that freelancers and contractors do not work as often or as hard as full-time employees, while also highlighting that independent workers are, more often than not, available when businesses need them most.’

While the majority of freelancers are satisfied with the amount of holiday they enjoy, 46% do not believe they take enough holiday each year.

Of these;

30 per cent stated they ‘cannot afford the time off’
30 per cent actively ‘choose to work and earn instead’
20 per cent are ‘too busy workwise’ to take holiday
15 per cent are worried they will ‘lose a contract’ by taking holiday
Five per cent stated ‘other’ reasons such as ‘difficulty switching off’ and ‘just starting out’ as reasons for not taking what they consider to be enough holiday

Seb Maley also comments, ‘That said, many freelancers understandably find taking time off difficult. From feeling the need to work when projects are available, to problems switching off, having the financial security and confidence to enjoy a well-earned rest is one of the most difficult aspects of self-employment.

‘Unlike employees, freelancers and contractors are not entitled to paid annual leave, making it all the more important that the government helps the self-employed maximise their earnings when working. Recent changes to IR35 and the UK tax system have somewhat reduced the financial benefits of working independently however, no doubt contributing to the 30 per cent of freelancers who simply feel as though they cannot afford time off.’

Further reading on freelancers

Does your business turn over between £50,000 and £500,000? If so, you are eligible for the new Small Business Grants initiative from We’re giving away £5,000 every month in a free-to-enter competition. Apply now by clicking here. Good luck!

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