Umbrella payroll has recently come to the forefront in light of the Coronavirus crisis and it’s shone a light on a lot of worrying practices that are undertaken by some agencies.

For those that don’t know – Umbrella Payroll Services are used by some recruitment agencies in order to outsource payroll and compliance work associated with temporary, supply or contract staff.

Protocol don’t, and never will, use umbrella companies for our payroll and compliance and we’ve heard a lot of horror stories from candidates that just re-emphasises this stance.

We know candidates who have had a percentage of their pay taken just to access an umbrella payroll service. Others waited weeks without an income to be furloughed, only to be furloughed but only on 80% of the national minimum wage (due to contract loopholes) – when day rates might have been 5x that amount or more!

At Protocol we cover all payroll in-house, making it much easier for our candidates to get paid on time (and correctly). This has been reflected in our response to COVID-19 and how quickly we were able to get furlough payments arranged, working alongside our great clients.

For clients: Recent circumstances may have meant that you have had a closer look at suppliers. You may have heard from some of your own contract staff who have struggled to access the furlough scheme when working for recruitment agencies who use umbrella payroll services.

If this means you are looking for new partners in some areas, or would simply like some advice from our specialist team, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line:

For candidates: If you’re currently with an agency that uses umbrella payroll services and would like to find out more about working with Protocol, please email


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