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HMRC internal manual

National Insurance Manual

Secondary contributor: special rules: introduction

The secondary contributor is the person under the Social Security Acts responsible for, amongst other things

  • paying the secondary National Insurance Contributions (NICs); and
  • deducting primary NICs from the employee

The secondary contributor is usually

  • the contractual employer where the employee is employed under a contract of service; or
  • in the case of an office holder, the person responsible for paying the earnings of that office.

For ease of reference, that person is referred to throughout this section as ‘the employer’.

In some special situations, regulations can treat someone other than the contractual employer as a secondary contributor. The Employment Status Manual (ESM2000) deals with the special rules for Agency and Temporary workers.

Where a secondary contributor is outside the UK, then they may be treated as being in the UK under a treaty arrangement. If however, there is no treaty and the employer does not meet the conditions as to residence or presence, see NIM33720 and NIM33730, there is usually someone in the UK who is treated as the employer for NICs purposes.

  • Employer is in the European Economic Area, see NIM33120 
  • Employer is in the Isle of Man, see NIM33012 
  • Mariner has a payer of wages in the UK, see NIM29012 
  • Person works for someone in the UK, see NIM33720 and NIM33730 
  • Agency’ legislation, see NIM33740, NIM33750, ESM2000 and ESM2029 
  • Person works on the UK Continental Shelf, see NIM33770.