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giant umbrella

giant umbrella

If you want professional independence with all the benefits of being an employee, giant umbrella is the solution for you.

get your free FAQ booklet  join online

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How do you join giant umbrella? What is the fee? What benefits are available? What are my pension options?

These are just some of the questions we are going to answer each week in our live webinar that takes place every Thursday at 12:00 pm.

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premium vs standard

We know that for some of you pension planning is important, so we have introduced umbrella premium where you can save £560 for every £1,000 contributed into your private pension fund, plus receive other benefits. The table below compares our standard and premium product.

premium comparison


about **giant** umbrella

about giant umbrella

Our umbrella service is designed to be simple, paperless and hassle free. We ensure that you receive the right level of support when on assignment, take care of all PAYE tax deductions, give you pension planning options and provide you with a mobile 1st portal so you can easily access your data. All you need to do is complete your timesheets and we will do the rest. We partner with many agencies in such a way that you don’t even have to submit your timesheets to us!

We have produced a booklet with frequently asked questions to hopefully answer most, if not all, of your queries.

get your free FAQ booklet


how **giant umbrella** works

how giant umbrella works

You become an employee of giant and have all the benefits and rights of an employee such as holiday, sick, maternity and paternity pay as well as access to a number of pension planning options.

Your agency will quote you the limited company rate, which can often be confusing because this is the amount payable to giant and not you. To get your actual gross pay rate, there are a number of deductions that need to be made which include; Employer’s National Insurance, Apprenticeship Levy and our weekly net margin. The remaining balance is your gross pay, which is subject to PAYE tax and Employee’s National Insurance - the government recognises this confusion and as part of the Good Work Plan, has introduced legislation so that agencies will have to provide all workers with a Key Facts Document detailing these deductions so you can better understand your actual gross pay rate.

Your net pay is then paid directly into your bank account via a same-day payment and a payslip made available on your portal.

Dependent on your eligibility you may be able to claim expenses that can increase your take home pay. If you’re outside of something called supervision, direction and control i.e. you control how you work, then this could increase your take home pay. You can complete our questionnaire to check eligibility to claim expenses after completing our online joining process.

When it comes to holiday pay you have two options; you can either take it as you work, or you can save it up and take it when you need it!

**giant** umbrella premium

giant umbrella premium

The main reason contractors choose giant umbrella premium is because of the money-saving potential, not only can you continue to pay into your private pension fund saving you thousands on tax but you get access to our award-winning benefits package giant advantage.

Each Thursday at 12:00 our live webinar provides more information on this and other elements of giant umbrella.

register to join



join online today

We appreciate you are really busy, especially when you’ve been instructed by your hirer to find an umbrella company pretty quickly!

Joining giant umbrella has never been easier. We’ve developed a joining process to be proud of! 

With us, you can join giant umbrella online meaning you don’t have to speak to anyone at all if you don’t want to! Oh and by the way, when you join online our margin starts from only £22 per week (£11.21 after tax relief).

join online
what our contractors say

what our contractors say

Each day we send out hundreds of random surveys to workers so we can get feedback on our service levels and how we can improve them. 

On a scale of 1 to 10, over 80% of workers score our ongoing service with an 8, 9 or 10 and over 95% of workers rate their live chat experience with us as good or great.

frequently asked questions

frequently asked questions

We have grouped the most frequently asked questions to answer your queries. We are constantly updating these based upon your feedback.

what type of contract do I have with you?

what type of contract am I engaged under?

A contract of employment, with giant as your employer. Under this contract of employment, you may take on various different assignments through various agencies / hirers. The contract terms ensure we cover our responsibilities as your employer. They will therefore be different to the
terms under your contract for services if you were operating as a PSC.



does IR35 apply to umbrella employment?

No it does not.


how do I join giant umbrella?

Click on the joining link on our website and you can onboard within minutes – simple, convenient and easy!

what information do you need from me?

We’ll need your personal details (e.g. name, DOB, email address, home address, NI number, bank details) and for you to carry out an electronic identity and right to work check.

why do you need to carry out an identity check?

As your prospective employer, we have a legal responsibility to ensure that you have the right to work in the UK. Under our anti-money laundering policy, we are required to also check your identity and address. You can carry this simple check out quickly, conveniently and securely via your online portal. 

Remember to have your passport to hand when completing the onboarding steps.

what about contracts?

Once you have logged into your portal and provided your personal and assignment details, your contract documents will be made available to you to view and accept electronically online.

do I need to notify my agency that I am joining giant umbrella?

We will email them when you join, but we also recommend that you advise them that you are joining giant as some agencies require the information directly from yourself.

if I join giant umbrella today will my employment with you start from today?

No, your employment starts from the first day of your assignment. Therefore you can fully join online today so that everything is set up and ready. Your employment will start when your assignment starts. 

net pay illustrations

can you provide a net pay breakdown with all costs/deductions?

Yes, please enter your details and rate on the calculator available on our website.

can a yearly illustration be provided using my specific tax code?

Our illustrations provide an estimated take home using a fixed set of assumptions as detailed. They are for illustrative purposes only to provide an estimated net take home and should not be thought of as guaranteed income.

can you provide me with a net pay illustration factoring in Student loan deductions?

We are unable to include student loan repayments in the illustration we provide; however if we are notified by HMRC to make deductions, the amount you repay depends on which plan you’re on. Each plan has a threshold for your weekly or monthly taxable income. You repay:
• 9% of the amount you earn over the threshold for Plan 1 and 2
• 6% of the amount you earn over the threshold for the Postgraduate Loan
• If you have a Plan 1 or 2 loan and a Postgraduate Loan, you’ll repay 15% of the amount you earn over the threshold.

You do not pay anything back if your income is under the threshold. The thresholds change on 6th April each year, click on the following link to find out the current thresholds:

can you provide me with a net pay illustration factoring in private pension contributions?

Yes we can, please contact our welcome team on 0330 024 0946. To understand in detail the impact it may have on your financial planning we recommend that you speak with a qualified independent financial advisor Humphries IFA by calling on 020 8390 9055 (

why is my PAYE tax estimated to be higher in comparison to other quotes I have received?

Please be aware your personal tax-free allowance reduces for income over 100K per year. Note, not all umbrella companies will illustration this and as such will erroneously inflate your net income

when & how often do you pay me?

when do you pay me?

If your agency sends us your timesheet information electronically (known as DX – Data Exchange), upon processing the file, we will pay you the next working day via faster payment. Faster payment means the funds will clear in your account on the same day and so you won’t need to wait the usual 2-3 working days for payment to clear.

If your agency does not operate Data Exchange with us, you must enter a timesheet online via your giant portal, this will invoice your agency and once we receive the cleared and allocated funds from them, we will pay the next working day via faster payments

how often will you pay me?

We will pay you in line with the same frequency that your agency pays us – i.e. if they pay us weekly, we will pay you weekly; and if they pay us monthly, we will pay you monthly.

If your agency pays us weekly and you would prefer for us to pay you monthly, then we can arrange this for you.

can giant umbrella make payments to my limited company?

No, as your employer we can only make payments into a personal UK-based bank account where you are a named account holder.

can I claim expenses?

can I claim expenses?

As an employee of giant’s, you are able to claim various types of business expenses such as:

  • business mileage
  • travel
  • subsistence
  • temporary accommodation
  • tools and equipment
  • software
  • capital expenditure
  • professional subscriptions
  • cost of DBS/background checks
  • eye tests
  • safety wear
  • currency exchange fee
  • training, exams + associated travel/meals
  • consumables (postage, stationary)
  • business calls

Business mileage and capital expenditure are reimbursed via your payslip free from tax and national insurance deductions. Tax relief on the remaining expenses can be claimed by you at the end of the tax year via HMRC. You can claim expenses such as capital equipment (PC's, laptops, printers), training and professional subscriptions; however, home to work travel and its related subsistence is only allowable where you have no supervision, direction or control (SDC) by the hirer. All business expense claims must be submitted via the employee portal with supporting receipts uploaded.

what is SDC and its impact?

Since April 2016, if the hirer has the right to supervise, direct or control you, then HMRC deem you to be treated similar to a permanent employee of the hirer. You are:

• supervised if someone is ensuring your work is being done correctly and to the right standard
• directed if someone ensures your work is performed in a certain way e.g. instructing how it should be done
• controlled if someone dictates what work you do and/or how you do it

As a result, if you are under supervision, direction or control, you are not eligible to claim tax relief on expenses such as home to work travel and subsistence.

what deductions do you make from my quoted rate and how are they shown on my payslip?

what is the rate I am quoted by my agency and what deductions are there?

Your agency will quote you the limited company rate, which can often be confusing because this is the amount payable to giant and not you. To get to your actual gross rate, there are a number of deductions that need to be made including employers national insurance (13.8%), apprenticeship levy (0.5%) and our weekly margin.
These deductions can vary depending on the number of hours or days worked and therefore your gross pay rate will vary. This can be confusing and from April 2020, as part of the Governments Good Work Plan, agencies will have to detail these deductions on a Key Information Document issued to you so you have a clearer idea of your actual gross pay rate.

why is employer’s national insurance and the apprenticeship levy deducted from my quoted rate?

All employers must pay employer’s national insurance and the apprenticeship levy – it is a statutory requirement.

The rate that the agency pays to giant must cover these employment costs and our margin. To get your actual gross pay rate, we deduct these costs first and the remaining balance is your gross pay, which is subject to PAYE tax and Employee’s National Insurance.

what does my payslip look like?

You receive an invoice reconciliation and a payslip. The invoice reconciliation starts with the payments made to giant (the limited company rate quoted by your agency) and then shows the statutory deductions such as employer's national insurance, apprenticeship levy, and our margin, before arriving at your gross taxable pay which is shown on your payslip with PAYE tax deductions.

what about holidays?

what is the holiday entitlement under umbrella and how does it work?

You will have a statutory minimum entitlement of 28 days per year including bank and public holidays. If under the AWR regulations, we are advised by your agency of a higher entitlement, then this will be matched. 
You have the option to either have your holiday accrued and paid to you when you take time off; or paid out to you each time you are paid on a ‘rolled up pre-paid’ basis, which therefore means when you take holiday you will not receive additional payment. During your onboarding, you will have the choice of which holiday scheme you would like to be set up under.

what happens if I take more or less than the entitlement?

You should aim to ensure that you take your full annual leave entitlement within the holiday year. Any unused holiday will not be carried forward to a new year. If you take more than your entitlement, then it will be unpaid.

what are my pension options?

what are my pension options with giant umbrella?

We recognise that many of you are moving to umbrella employment from your own limited company where you had greater freedom for pension planning. We have therefore tried to be as flexible as we can to offer you a number of different pension planning options under our umbrella employment.

You have three options: auto enrolment via NEST, giant’s Standard Life salary sacrifice pension or an alternative pension provider where you have an ongoing scheme.

how does auto enrolment via NEST work?

After 90 days of continuous employment with us, we will auto enrol you into a workplace pension with NEST. You will contribute 4% of pensionable earnings (the government adds another 1%) and giant will contribute a further 4% (from funds we receive from the agency). Once auto-enrolled, you can opt out of this pension (by law the opt out is processed by you directly with NEST). For queries on the NEST scheme, please call them directly on 0330 020 0090.

how does the giant Standard Life scheme work?

You can join this scheme from day 1 of your employment with us. You can contribute up to 100% of your gross taxable income subject to a maximum of £40,000 per year and all employer’s national insurance and tax relief is received at source via what is known as a salary sacrifice arrangement.

how do I join the giant Standard Life scheme?

Very easily. You read the information on your portal then provide us with the level of contributions you would like to make, and we do the rest!

can I pay into an existing scheme that I have?

Yes, we can accommodate this. However, you will need to contact your pension provider and request approval for giant to pay them via a salary sacrifice arrangement. Some providers will not allow this because of the associated administrative costs. In these situations, your contribution can be made from your net pay, but this is not as tax efficient
as a salary sacrifice arrangement.

can I get Independent Financial Advice?

Yes, we have partnered with Independent Financial Advisors, Humphries IFA, who can advise you on more flexible pension planning via a Standard Life salary sacrifice scheme. You might want to consider this if you:

• have a reduced contribution allowance because your total income is in excess of £150,000 per year
• want to carry forward unused pension allowances from the last 3 tax years to increase your contributions this year
• would like to have a choice of fund selection
• require advice on reviewing any historic schemes or would like to consolidate pension pots
• would like retirement benefits advice, cashflow modelling and forecasting work

To find out more, please call them on 0208 390 9055 or email [email protected] to speak with one of their Independent Financial Advisors.

what is the maximum amount I can contribute towards a pension?

Under the workplace pension we offer through NEST, the maximum contribution via your payroll will be 4% of your qualifying earnings. However, if you are contributing to a private pension scheme via giant you can contribute up to 100% of your gross taxable income above national minimum wage subject to a maximum of £40,000 per year.

If you have more than one pension scheme, the allowance is across all of them and is not a ‘per scheme’ allowance. A tapered allowance exists for those earning over £150,000 which can reduce the maximum contribution to £10,000 per year.

can I carry forward unused allowances from previous years?

You can also carry forward any unused contribution allowances from the previous 3 tax years, which might allow contributions over £100,000 in the current tax year. To find out more about tapered or carry forward contributions, please call Humphries IFA on 0208 390 9055 or email [email protected] to speak with one of their Independent Financial Advisors.

what if I mistakenly contribute above the maximum amount I can contribute towards a pension?

HMRC will tax you on the excess contributions.

can I vary my pension contributions?

Not under NEST but you can vary your pension contributions under the other schemes. Please note pension providers do not like contributions to vary, and some may not allow it, in order to minimise their administrative costs.

what tax relief do I get when contributing into a pension scheme?

This is an important question.

Under NEST the employer contribution, 4%, saves employer’s national insurance and tax however your employee contribution, 4%, is paid from your net income and only receives basic rate, 20%, tax relief at source. The government add 1% to your contribution making your contribution 5%. On your employee contribution you get no relief from
employers’ national insurance and you will need to claim higher rate tax relief via your self-assessment.

In contrast under our Standard Life pension arrangement all national insurance and tax relief is received at source via what is known as a salary sacrifice arrangement. All contributions are made before calculating your taxable gross income and therefore the contributions save employer’s national insurance and tax at your highest marginal rate.
Please note if you are requesting your existing scheme to be processed via giant you will want to ask if it can be processed via a salary sacrifice arrangement or whether your contributions are from your net income. The latter is less tax efficient because you only receive basic rate tax relief immediately, you apply for higher rate tax relief via your self assessment
and you do not get any employers national insurance relief.

does the giant margin increase for processing my pension?

Not where you are auto-enrolled into NEST but for all other pension schemes you will join our umbrella premium where our margin increases to £39.50 per week (which reduces your weekly net income by £20.14 or £23.60 for a higher and basic rate taxpayer respectively). Umbrella premium also includes access to private medical insurance, faster turn around times with our support team and quarterly 121's. Compare umbrella premium with standard here.

can I use my limited company to make pension contributions?

Yes, but this will be separate to and not involve the giant umbrella pension schemes.

what is the annual management charge on the standard life salary sacrifice pension?

We have negotiated a discount of 0.72% per year on all funds provided by standard life via our standard life salary sacrifice pension. For example if the normal charge for a fund is 1.00% per year then via the giant salary sacrifice scheme the charge is reduced to 0.28% per year.
Please note if you take independent financial advice via Humphreys IFA there is an additional cost for their advice. Over the life of a pension, this discount is very significant. 

what about references and self-assessment?

do you charge for reference letters?

No we don’t – they’re free! You can request either an employment or financial reference directly via your portal and you’ll have it in your inbox within a matter of minutes.

do you file my self-assessment for me and is there a fee for that service?

As your employer, we do not file your self-assessment, as that remains your individual responsibility. We have our accountancy arm, giant Accounts Limited, who can prepare and file your self-assessment for you at a discounted rate.

what about the Agency Worker Regulations (AWR)?

what is the AWR?

Under the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (AWR), agency workers are entitled to have the same basic terms and conditions of employment as if they had been employed directly by the hirer once they have completed a qualifying period of 12 calendar weeks with the same hirer, in the same role.

does the AWR apply?

Yes, as an employee of giant umbrella, you will be in scope of these regulations if you meet the qualifying criteria.

what does this mean for me?

If you have worked in the same role for 12 weeks, you will qualify for equal treatment in respect of pay and basic working conditions. You can accumulate these weeks even if you only work a few hours a week. We will ask your agency for comparator details in the lead up to 12 weeks which includes asking for comparator salary, annual leave entitlement, bonus entitlement and benefits. Once received, we will calculate the comparator’s gross pay and compare to your gross pay with giant to ensure you are paid equal to or more than the permanent comparator. If there are no comparable workers or employees, then there is no entitlement to equal treatment.

do I need to give notice to leave giant umbrella?

what is the notice period if I wish to leave giant?

You have two notice periods – one for your assignment at the hirer, and another for your employment with giant. Your agency will confirm the notice period for the assignment and we will populate this on the assignment schedule you are offered online with us. To terminate your employment with us (which is separate to your assignment notice period) you can serve immediate notice.

can I leave you at any time?

Yes, ensuring that you have served the relevant notice period. Some agencies will only allow you to change umbrella companies either at the point of extension or new assignment and so you should check their policy on allowing changes.


insurances, SLA’s & compliance

do you include business insurances such as professional indemnity etc..?

Yes, we hold the following cover for all our umbrella employees:

• professional indemnity: £5million for any one claim
• employer’s liability: £10million for any one occurrence
• public liability: £5million for any one occurrence
• products liability: £5million for any one occurrence

what are your SLAs for dealing with queries / complaints?

We aim to respond to all queries within 24 hours and have a robust complaints procedure in line with our employee handbook.

how do you prove your compliance?

As a founder member of the Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA), an intrusive desktop and field review is undertaken against the FCSA code of conduct by one of the independent panel of reviewers. Our review is currently undertaken by EY. As part of this review, the results are then submitted to HMRC.

we also hold the following certifications:

• ISO27001 International Data Security Standard
• ISO14001 Environmental Management Standard
• ISO9001 International Quality Standard

how does your margin work and do you pay referral fees?

is there a set-up or cancellation fee for giant umbrella?


what is the giant umbrella margin?

When you join online our margin starts from £22 per week (£11.21 after tax relief). If you've chosen our premium product, where you can pay into a choice of private pension, our weekly margin is £39.50 (£20.14 after tax relief).

I have a number of other colleagues that also require an umbrella company, do you pay a referral fee?

Yes! Fill out the ‘refer a friend’ application form on the employee portal and one of our Welcome Team advisors will then contact your friend. If your referred friend chooses to join us, we will give you £50 (subject to tax and NI) for each and every friend you refer to us who becomes a giant umbrella employee. 

how do I join giant umbrella?

We appreciate you are really busy, especially when you’ve been instructed by your hirer to find an umbrella company pretty quickly! Joining giant umbrella has never been easier. We’ve developed a joining process to be proud of!

With us, you can complete the full sign up process online meaning you don’t have to speak to anyone at all if you don’t want to! Oh and by the way, when you sign up online our margin starts from only £22 per week (£11.21 after tax relief).

what are the benefits of giant umbrella?

what are the benefits of giant umbrella?

Our umbrella offering is designed to be simple, paperless and hassle free. We ensure that you receive your full employment rights, take care of all PAYE tax deductions and provide you with a mobile enabled portal so you can easily access your data. All you need to do is complete your timesheets and we will do the rest. You will also benefit from:

• our 30 years of experience
• mobile enabled, simple software
• same day faster payments
• payment text alerts
• holiday pay
• one employer
• business insurances
• workplace pension
• statutory payments
• own tech – designed for simplicity
• same day advances
• support team
giant advantage

what is giant advantage?

Honoured by the Benefits Excellence Awards, giant advantage is an extensive employee benefits programme that can save you £1000’s each year with things like:

• cheaper cinema tickets
• discounts at your favourite high street retailers
• leasing a brand new, low emission, fully insured car free from tax and NI deductions
• buy a bicycle on a 12 month purchase plan free from tax and NI deductions

umbrella premium FAQ's

with the private medical insurance, does it also cover my family?

For the cost of £39.50 you, the policyholder, along with your children are covered under the policy. If you would like to extend this, that option is available.

which company provides the private medical insurance?

BHSF, Birmingham Hospital Saturday Fund

how many diagnostic scans are covered?

There is no limit to the number of scans covered for the policy holder, includes MRI, PET and CT scans.

how many GP consultations can I get?

There is no limit for the policy holder.

what are my pension options with umbrella premium?

There are number of options available, click here to see our pension FAQ's

giant advantage

Honoured by the Benefits Excellence Awards, giant advantage is an extensive employee benefits programme that can save you £1000’s each year.

We know everyone enjoys cheaper cinema tickets and discounts at their favourite high street retailers but with giant advantage you also get something a little extra.

Want a new car? You can lease a brand new, low emission, fully insured car – and there are thousands to choose from. Want to cycle to work? You can buy a bicycle on a 12 month purchase plan. Both are part of a salary sacrifice scheme, so you save  tax and NI at your highest marginal rate on the payments you make, costing you much less!!

More pounds in your pocket is great but we are most proud of our salary sacrifice scheme for cars and bikes. You can watch our short video to learn more!

Joining our optional giant advantage benefit scheme incurs an additional £3.75 weekly margin. This will reduce your net income by £2.24 and £1.91 for a basic and higher rate taxpayer respectively. If you are on the umbrella premium package, giant advantage is inclusive within this package already.