This fortnight has seen me submit responses to two different BEIS Good Work Plan consultations; firstly on whether to have a single enforcement body, and secondly on one-sided flexibility.  The consultation on establishing a single enforcement body covered a number of other issues and we argued very strongly in favour of joint responsibility for supply chain compliance; meaning that end-clients would be required to have an active role in ensuring a compliant supply chain, something that FCSA has long supported. 

The consultation on one-sided flexibility included a range of proposals which could have a significant impact on our sector such as: workers having the right to a more stable contract that reflects normal hours worked, right for workers to receive compensation for shifts cancelled at short notice, and a right for workers to have reasonable notice of shifts.  We have suggested that the right to a more stable contract reverts back to the original proposal of a right to request a more stable contract – as there are obviously circumstances when it would be impossible in practice.  The proposed right for workers to have reasonable notice of shifts would need to include provision for circumstances where this is impossible so that shifts can be covered at short notice.  The right to compensate workers for cancelled shifts at short notice would be viable providing it is clear where that liability sits within the supply chain, i.e. with the entity that cancels the shift. 

It is too early to know if there is a timeline for any of the proposals to come into effect and we will keep you informed as things develop.

Best wishes

Julia Kermode, FCSA Chief Executive


In this Issue

News | Government, Policy & Technical | Legal Update | Market Analysis | Upcoming Events | Directory of Accredited Members


Temporary employment falls below 1.4m for the first time since 2008

Yesterday, the ONS issued their latest labour market statistics which confirmed that temporary employment has fallen below 1.4m for the first time since 2008.  See our Market Analysis section for more on the different types of temporary worker affected. 

Other key points are that the UK workforce (all in employment) shrank by 0.2% in May - July 2019 compared to the previous quarter.  At 32,693k, it was 56k smaller than the previous quarter (March - May 2019) but was 282k (0.9%) larger than the same period a year earlier.

  • Of this 56k (0.2%) quarter-on-quarter decrease for all workers, the balance was achieved by 73k (0.3%) more people working full-time but 129k (-1.5%) fewer part-time workers.
  • Self-employment also fell by 25k (0.5%) to 4,930k (underpinned by 64k (1.9%) more people working full-time but 89k (5.9%) fewer working part-time). This represented a self-employment rate of 15.1%.
  • Similarly, temporary employment recorded a level 69k (4.7%) lower than the previous quarter. At 1,398k, this was the first time that it has dropped below 1.4m since August - October 2008. This represented a temporary employment rate of 4.3%.
  • In contrast, permanent employment rose by 20k, the number of unpaid family workers increased by 2k (1.2%) to 129k, whilst the number of individuals on Government training & employment schemes increased by 17k (41.4%) to 57k.


Over-50s more likely to be unemployed

Those aged 50 to 64 are 37% more likely to be unemployed for more than two years than under-50s, according to analysis from jobsite Rest Less.  Their research was based on analysis of ONS labour market data and found that those aged 50 to 64 are more likely than any other age group to remain unemployed for two years or more.  The research also revealed that 21% of unemployed people are aged over 50.  There is also a gender gap - 38% of men that are unemployed for 24 months or more are aged over 50, compared to 35% of women.  In addition, analysis of ONS data for The Telegraph shows that 31,000 people in their 50s were made redundant between April and June, compared with 15,000 people in their 40s.


Legal duty for company directors to increase pay for their staff?

According to the Social Market Foundation (SMF), there should be a new legal duty for company directors to ensure that employees, at all levels of the company, are sharing in the proceeds of company growth.  Many big investors say they want to back firms that meet standards for the environment, society and governance (ESG) and assess companies partly on whether they pay the minimum wage and comply with labour laws.  The SMF said that such ESG analysis should set a higher standard, judging firms on how pay and train their staff. They suggest there could be a new “kitemark” for firms that offer good wage and career progression and training.  Lastly, SMF said that companies should have to publish data on wages, progression, training budget and HR practices, which could ultimately be shown in league tables by sector.


British financial firms are ahead in implementing robotic processing automation

While 37 per cent of UK financial services firms surveyed have implemented robotic processing automation (RPA) – a technology used to automate human activities – only 28 per cent of global firms have adopted the technology, according to a report published today by PwC.  Fintech is also driving job creation within financial services in the UK. According to the report, the majority (63 per cent) of firms are creating new positions as a result of the technology.  Although UK firms may lead the way when it comes to robo-advisors, the research found they are much less likely to have implemented big data (29 per cent vs 46 per cent) or the internet of things (15 per cent vs 31 per cent) than their international rivals.

Government, Policy & Technical

Queen’s Speech and Date for Autumn Budget

The Queen’s Speech was delivered on Monday and confirmed the Government’s continued commitment to delivering the Good Work Plan, some of which we will see implemented from 2020 (see next article on KIDs).  IR35 was not mentioned in the speech, nor was it included in the 130 pages of background notes that accompanied the speech.   The notes did confirm the Chancellor’s intention to increase the National Living Wage to two-thirds of median hourly earnings and to lower the age threshold for those who qualify from 25 to 21 within the next 5 years, benefitting 4 million people. The Government will set out further details at the next Budget.

The Treasury has confirmed that the Autumn Budget is planned to take place on Wednesday 6 November 2019.  The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, said: “This will be the first Budget after leaving the EU. I will be setting out our plan to shape the economy for the future and triggering the start of our infrastructure revolution.”


Key Information Documents (KIDs) Guidance issued

HMRC has published guidance on Key Information Documents which will need to be produced for all agency workers from 6 April 2020 onwards.  The Key Information Document will need to be issued by the recruitment agency to the worker before agreeing contractual terms.  The aim of the new requirement is to provide transparency for agency workers, particularly regarding pay, holiday  entitlement, and other statutory rights.  It's an important change which will need to be managed alongside the off-payroll changes next year.

It is agencies' responsibility to produce the information and the supply chain (e.g. umbrellas) will need to work together to produce the information.  There is no obligation to provide multiple KIDs to worker if they offer multiple engagement methods, although BEIS would consider it best practice to do so as it enables the worker to decide how to be engaged.  Recruitment firms must be able to show, ultimately, that agency workers have received the Key Information Document corresponding to the final choice made.

You can read the full guidance here >


GAAR ruling on employee shareholder scheme

The GAAR (General Anti-Abuse Rule) advisory panel has issued a ruling on a scheme involving the extraction of cash or value from a company by its directors and shareholders using employee shareholder shares.  The arrangements involve extracting shares at a given value which are subsequently repurchased by the company for a higher value and the taxpayers also received their share of the company’s accumulated and undistributed profits.  The GAAR panel stated: “Engineering a situation in which the taxpayers give up existing economic rights, being rights on their original shareholding that accrued before the employee shareholder agreement was signed, and moving those rights into the ES C shares is a strong indicator that the arrangements are abusive.”

You can read the full GAAR panel opinion here >

Brabners LLP Legal Update


“No Rest For The Wicked” – Or Is There? The Importance Of Rest Breaks

Despite the fact that most of us will take at least one rest break every working day, there are often misconceptions around workers’ entitlement to rest breaks. How often is a worker entitled to a break? Should rest breaks be paid? Do employers have to keep a record of their worker’s rest breaks? A recent case highlights the importance of adhering to the law in relation to this tricky topic.

Brabners LLP look at a new employment case that illustrates the importance of employee rest breaks.

Read More >

Market Analysis

Temporary employment falls below 1.4m for the first time since 2008

Temporary employment – in all its forms – was down by 69k (4.7%) in June - August 2019, against the previous quarter, and was 124k (8.2%) lower than in the same period last year.

In the latest available underpinning data which highlights changes by type of temporary employment (April - June, when the number was 95k lower than the previous year):

  • At 570k, Fixed Term Contract employment was down by 11.7% (76k).
  • At 285k, ‘Agency Temping’ was down by 6.0% (18k).
  • At 311k, Casual work was up by 1.8% (5k).
  • At 94k, Seasonal work was up by 18.4% (15k).
  • At,184k, ‘Other’ types of temporary employment were down 9.7% (20k).

With early indications around hirers’ reactions to the impending changes to the off-payroll protocols, currently scheduled for April 2020, appearing to favour PAYE solutions, these cohorts of temporary employment will serve as a useful barometer for how intentions are playing out in reality.

Upcoming Events


TALiNT World Leaders In Recruitment Conference 2019
Tuesday 29th October 2019, Natwest Conference Centre London

FCSA are delighted to be partnering with TALiNT for their World Leaders in Recruitment Conference.

World Leaders in Recruitment is regarded as one of the highest-profile events in the industry. It returns this October to provide HR and recruitment professionals with rare access to some of the industry’s top thought leaders combined with business-critical content and analysis.

Julia will chair a panel of experts that afternoon to summarise the IR35/off-payroll changes, outline the implications, and suggest what you should be doing now to prepare.

The conference will also host interactive sessions on the hottest topics and results from TALiNT’s Agency Benchmark programme.

It is an event the UK’s leading HR and recruitment professionals should not miss.

For more information and details of how to book, visit the TALiNT World Leaders in Recruitment Conference website >

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