What is SDC (supervision, direction and control)

SDC is used to determine employment status in a collection of legislation that has become known as the ‘agency legislation’.

The Agency Legislation requires an agency or an employment intermediary to consider an individual's self-employed status. Should they be subject to SDC, then they must be placed on employee payroll. 

With this in mind, it means all umbrella companies need to run certain checks before paying someone as a self-employed individual. This also extends to those working under the CIS scheme. 

We are looking to confirm you are working in business of your own accord, so typical confirmation points would be:

  • You have the right to send a substitute to site if needed (provided they meet relevant training / qualification requirements)
  • You are under no obligation to take on additional work should you not wish to 
  • You complete work unsupervised, and are in control of how you carry out your work 
  • You don't expect to be monitored, and nobody would tell you how to complete your tasks 
  • You are providing specific services, and cannot be told or directed to complete other tasks outside of this 
  • You have expertise so can provide services without training 
  • You decide on how work is done where there may be multiple options on how to proceed 
  • You would not accept anyone instructing you on how to complete or organise your work 
  • You agree that you receive payment that reflects your ability to perform the work unaided


If it seems like your role will be supervised, directed and/or controlled, we'll need yo pay you via our PAYE umbrella instead. Each contract you take is assessed individually, so it's possible to work between PAYE and self-employed, depending on the position.