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Umbrella Company Employment: Working for More Than One Agency

Umbrella Company

Whenever we ask our umbrella company employees what they like about contracting, flexibility and autonomy always emerge as important factors. It follows that you may want to work for more than one client or through more than one recruitment agency, either at the same time or on successive assignments. So, is it OK to work for more than one agency, and what issues do you need to be aware of?

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The short answer is yes …

Contractors want to be in control of when and where they work, and for many this is the main reason they became contractors. It is both acceptable and common for contractors to complete assignments for more than one agency or client. However, it’s important to manage your assignments sensibly, and make sure you live up to your obligations.

Maintaining your professional relationships

As a contractor you are in the business of providing your services for the agency or client and, like customers of any business, they will expect you to keep your promises. We’d always advise you to look after your existing agency contacts before offering your services elsewhere.

When accepting multiple assignments, it’s important to make sure you are genuinely able to fulfil them. It’s easy to understand why you might be reluctant to turn down work, but if you overstretch or double-book yourself, you’ll lose out in the long run. There may also be contractual obligations to consider as well.

Why you’ll want to keep the same umbrella company

It’s common practice for a recruitment agency to use a preferred supplier list (PSL) of pre-approved umbrella companies, and they may be reluctant to work with an umbrella who are not on their list. If you work for a number of different agencies, this could leave you using more than one umbrella, which is not ideal.   

One of the main strengths of umbrella company employment is that it allows you to maintain continuous employment across all your assignments. This protects your employment rights, makes referencing for credit and mortgages much easier, and generally simplifies your life. You obviously don’t get this benefit if you switch umbrella every time you start a new assignment.

Most agencies use a PSL because they want to protect themselves and you from involvement with non- compliant umbrella companies. If your existing umbrella is accredited by FCSA, the agency can be confident that they’re compliant and competent, and there’s a good chance that they’ll be happy to add them to their PSL. We strongly advise against working with any umbrella company who are not accredited by FCSA.

If you have questions, or if we can help in any way, please call our expert team on 01296 468 483 or email info@orangegenie.com

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