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Employment with an Umbrella Company: What it Really Means

Umbrella Company

The term umbrella company has been used to mean many different things over the years, and indeed it’s being used right now by companies who are not remotely similar to Orange Genie, either in their business philosophy or in the services they provide. This variation leaves many contractors unsure of exactly where they stand.

Guide to Umbrella Employment: clickhere to download>>

In this article we’re looking at the truth behind umbrella company employment, what it means to us, and how it benefits our umbrella company employees.

Do umbrella companies offer “real” employment?

Some umbrella employees believe they are self-employed, or that their umbrella is just a payroll provider for their agency. The idea that umbrella companies are pretending to be employers to gain some mysterious tax advantage is astonishingly pervasive and resilient.

We can’t speak for everyone, but if you’re using our umbrella company, Orange Genie are your employer, in every sense of the word. From our legal responsibilities, to our moral obligations and our duty of care, we provide everything you would expect from an employer, and more than many traditional employers do.

How can you be employed and be a contractor?

We know from speaking to our employees that flexibility and autonomy are among the most attractive things about contracting. At the same time, many people think of an employer as someone who tells you when, where and how to work, and this doesn’t fit in with the experience of being a contractor.

As an umbrella company employee, you are still responsible for sourcing your own contracting work, and you still get to decide which assignments you accept. When, where and how you work is organised between you, the agency and the end client, just like it always was.

Once you’ve made those arrangements, we – as your employer- supply your services to the agency or client. This gives you the flexibility and autonomy that drew you to contracting, with the security and benefits of genuine employment.

How does employment benefit our umbrella company employees?

Obviously, employment with Orange Genie means you get all the rights, protections and benefits afforded to all UK employees by law, but we’re not satisfied with the legal minimum. Accordingly, you also receive a substantial package of employee benefits, like you might expect from a large employer. This is not an exhaustive list, but here are some of the benefits our employees enjoy:

  • Sick pay, paid holiday and maternity/paternity pay
  • Access to our workplace pension scheme, and the ability to contribute to the pension of your choice via salary sacrifice
  • On-demand GP appointments by telephone or webcam, including a prescription delivery service
  • Unlimited Access to professional counselling on a confidential helpline
  • Discounts and cashback on thousands of products and services, including easy ways to reduce day to day costs.
  • Gym discounts, fitness advice, healthy recipes and free to stream exercise videos
  • Tailored support for carers, and those needing specialist medical care

Starting employment with Orange Genie

When you start with a new employer, you’d expect to go through an onboarding process, and it’s no different when you become an Orange Genie employee. We have legal obligations to execute, like checking your identity, and your right to work in the UK. We have to record information about you, like your next of kin and bank details, and send you formal documents like an employment offer and a contract of employment.

Fortunately, we’ve employed thousands of contractors over many years, and our on-boarding process is as smooth and convenient as we can make it. It can usually be completed quickly and easily on our online portal, and our dedicated Contractor Support team are there to help whenever you need them.

What about those other umbrella companies?

We’ve explained what you can expect from us, but we said at the start of this article that there’s a lot of variation in umbrella companies – what about the others? The term “umbrella company” is not protected, so just because a company describe themselves as an umbrella doesn’t mean they operate in the way we’ve explained here. As you can see from the table below, there’s a lot of variation in the quality and integrity of umbrella companies.

Umbrella Company

We strongly advise that anyone looking for an umbrella company only consider FCSA accredited members, as this is the best way to make sure you’re dealing with a compliant and competent company.

If you have any questions or if we can help in any way, please call our expert team on 01296 468483 or email

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