Home Career Advice Working in the private security industry Self-employed vs Employee
Working in the private security industry                 Self-employed vs Employee

Working in the private security industry Self-employed vs Employee


In the UK, you can work as a “self-employed” security officer at a company that doesn’t provide security. Some organisations hire “freelance” security guards who can be categorised as “self-employed,” while others hire their staff as full-time employees.

The key difference is that self-employed security guards need to calculate their own tax and national insurance, while the company does this for full-time employed security guards. 

While, as an employee of a company, you normally pay tax through PAYE (Pay As You Earn). PAYE is HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) system to collect Income Tax and National Insurance from employees. Whenever you receive your salary, your employer has already deducted Tax and National Insurance

Do you earn more as a self-employed security guard?

In the private security industry, working as a “self-employed” or “freelance” security guard means you are NOT entitled to the National Minimum Wage. Your employer decides the rate of pay, so your pay can vary. So, working for an independent contractor isn’t always the best because you could end up getting paid less than the actual minimum wage. 

On top of that, you are NOT entitled to sick pay, holiday pay, and have no coverage from other Employment Protection Laws. More often than not, employers can take advantage of this because many self-employed security professionals don’t have good working conditions and fair treatment. 

So, while you may think that working as a “freelance” security professional will allow you more freedom to decide your working conditions, in reality, the chances of your employer using the status of your employment to their benefit are higher. In most cases, self-employed security guards are likely to be exploited whilst working for private contractors.   

SIA and HMRC join hands to stop the exploitation of security professionals

The Security Industry Authority (SIA) and HMRC have collaborated to identify illegal working practices and tax fraud in the private security industry. Their joint operation will also ensure that security professionals are employed legitimately and treated fairly. 

It is estimated that this could be costing the UK economy tens of millions of pounds – money that should be funding vital public services.

As a self-employed Security Guard or Door Supervisor, you will have to follow the rules of HMRC self-assessment. Once you’ve registered with the HMRC, you’ll need to submit a Self-Assessment Tax Return form. Once this has been reviewed, you will be sent your tax bill, and you will also need to pay National Insurance Contributions. NIC is paid to qualify for certain benefits and the State Pension. 

Major benefits you are missing out on as a self-employed security professional

When it comes to benefits, employees are the real winners. Employees are entitled to sick leave, maternity leave and many other benefits each year. As a self-employed person, if you don’t work, you don’t earn money in most cases, and while certain benefits are available to the self-employed, they are far harder to come by.

Self Employed VS Employee

Minimum Wage NoYes
Sick PayNoYes
Holiday PayNo Yes
Pension PayNoYes
Employment Protection LawsNoYes
Job SecurityNoYes

So, as a self-employed security professional the benefits are little to non-existent and there is always a risk of getting replaced by a more experienced person. Why take the risk of evading taxes when there really isn’t any benefit?

If you’re already working for a so-called self-employed company then we advise you to get out of there as soon as possible and join a business. We are sure that you won’t welcome the enormous tax bill that arrives at the end of the year. 

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