This fortnight, we have continued our work in supporting firms as they prepare for the off-payroll reforms. We have had numerous positive conversations with end-clients who are seeking to minimise their risk by choosing FCSA Accreditation as a pre-requisite for their supply chains.  We have also been hearing from contractors who were (before getting in touch with us) on the verge of being duped into tax avoidance schemes. Fortunately, we have been able to prevent this. We know that there are many such schemes aggressively targeting professional contractors and we continue to keep HMRC informed of every scheme that we hear about.

In addition, we are also supporting the demonstration at Westminster on 12 February - see below for more details. The planned change is already having a very detrimental impact on businesses which could ultimately damage the UK’s economy, particularly as we are seeing some firms opt for cheaper resources overseas. 

We are into a busy events season; we will be at Recruitment Agency Expo when you read this, we are presenting an IR35 webinar with FreeAgent on 18 February, and we have IR35 panel sessions at TALiNT’s Agency Leaders Year Ahead, as well asas well as TALiNT's In-House Leaders Year Ahead conferences, on 27 February and 12 March respectively. If you’re attending any of those events please drop by the FCSA stand, it’s always good to chat in person.

Best Wishes,

Julia Kermode, FCSA Chief Executive


In this Issue

News | Government, Policy & Technical | Legal Update | Market Analysis | Media Coverage | Advice from the Experts | Upcoming Events | Accredited Members Directory


#StopTheOffPayrollTax Campaign plans demo at Westminster

The campaign group, Stop The Off-Payroll Tax, is planning a demonstration at Westminster. The protest will be held on 12 February in Westminster from 11am to 3pm aiming to stop the planned off-payroll changes due in April 2020. FCSA is an official supporter of the campaign.

The organiser of the demonstration, Dave Chaplin, founder of Contractor Calculator, said: ‘We will be protesting on 12 February in Westminster from 11am - 3pm to try and stop the off-payroll tax from destroying an entire sector. After the protest outside the Houses of Parliament, campaigners plan to present a letter to the Treasury, and then attend a drop-in session for MPs to meet constituents in the Macmillan Room at Portcullis House, hosted by Tim Farron MP."

For more information click here >  


Disabled jobseekers not confident of recruitment process nor employer support

Disabled jobseekers find that identifying employers they feel confident in applying for jobs with is their biggest issue. Of those surveyed by disability job forum Evenbreak, 15% said they exclusively apply to employers who are renowned as being disability-friendly, and 71% rated employers poorly when it came to empathy, and understanding around disability. 

Respondents were not confident in the recruitment process fearing it would be biased or discriminatory, with comments such as; “I don’t know how to find an employer who will take me seriously”, common during the research. Fifty per cent said face-to-face interviews caused them the most distress and 75% said an obvious lack of interest from interviewers happened regularly.  A lack of confidence in their own abilities was the third biggest barrier to applying for a new job, including anxiety over how employers might perceive them.


82% of women jobseekers never negotiate pay

According to latest research by Slater and Gordon, millions of women could be missing out on higher salaries, as 82% never negotiate their pay when applying for jobs. The research found that half of all female workers believe they are being underpaid, but 71% of those said they have not challenged their employer over the issue. Half of the women reported discussing money with their colleagues, and 27% subsequently discovered their male peers were being paid more for a similar, or lower-ranking role. One thousand women were surveyed, and cited the fear of appearing rude or ungrateful, as the main reasons why they didn’t negotiate their pay. Twenty one per cent said they were concerned that requesting higher pay could jeopardise benefits, such as maternity leave or flexible working.


Employer confidence improves in final month of 2019

New data from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) suggests that businesses are starting to have a more positive outlook towards hiring following the general election. According to the latest Jobs Outlook report, employers’ confidence in the UK economy rose to a net figure of -31 in October - December 2019, two percentage points higher than the previous rolling quarter. In view of this, their confidence in making hiring and investment decisions also improved, rising by four percentage points to net -3.

Despite confidence levels increasing, hirers are still worried about skills shortages - almost half (49%) of employers expected to find a shortage of workers for permanent roles. Employers of permanent staff were most concerned about sectors such as construction and health and social care, which could be particularly affected by the government’s plans for a more restrictive immigration policy.

Government, Policy & Technical

Draft secondary legislation issued

HMRC has published draft secondary legislation for the off-payroll changes due to come in from 6 April 2020. The transfer of debt provisions have been outlined which gives HMRC the power to recover liabilities from a third party. In essence, this means that agencies and clients will need to undertake sufficient due diligence in their supply chain to avoid a debt arising from an unscrupulous fee-payer. The draft legislation also suggests that a Status Determination Statement is not valid if sufficient reasonable care is not taken by clients in reaching their decision. 

You can read the draft legislation here >


31m taxpayers to get tax cut in April 2020

New legislation laid in parliament last week means that 31 million taxpayers will receive a tax cut in April 2020 as NICs thresholds rise to £9,500. This means that a typical employee will pay around £104 less than previously. Since 2010, the Personal Allowance (the level at which people start paying Income Tax) has risen from £6,475 to £12,500; an increase of over 90%. The typical basic rate taxpayer now pays over £1,200 less income tax compared to 2010 - 2011.


Government appoints interim Small Business Commissioner

Philip King has been appointed the interim Small Business Commissioner with immediate effect.  The commissioner overseas fair payment practices for small businesses and supports them in resolving their payment disputes with larger businesses. To date, it has recovered over £6.5m owed to small and micro businesses. Mr King was Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM), which is responsible for administering the voluntary Prompt Payment Code. Signatories to the Code sign up to pay 95% of invoices in 60 days with an ambition to move toward 30-day payment terms.


Chancellor seeks next Chair of the Office of Budget Responsibility

The statutory term of the current Chair of the OBR, Robert Chote, comes to an end in October this year. The OBR has executive responsibility for producing the official UK economic and fiscal forecasts assessing the government’s performance against its fiscal rules as well as reporting on the sustainability of, and risks, to the public finances. As an independent institution, the OBR is committed to providing objective, transparent and impartial analysis.

The Chair of the OBR requires a deep expertise in economic and fiscal analysis, and the ability to lead the Budget Responsibility Committee and the OBR’s staff.  The role has been advertised on the Cabinet Office public appointments website and is open to applications until 20 February 2020.

Brabners LLP Legal Update


Should belief in biological sex be protected under law?

Is a belief that there are only two sexes a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010?

Not according to the recent Employment Tribunal judgment in the case of Forstater v CGD Europe & Others [2019]. Will this impact your company or workforce? 

Read on to find out more >

Market Analysis

4.7m (14%) of UK workers commute between regions for work

From analysis of commuting patterns of workers across the period 2016 - 18, the Office of National Statistics data evidences that 14% of UK workers commute a notable distance between regions to perform work.

Across the UK as a whole, marginally more people (2,404k) commute out than commute into work (2,306k). This varies significantly by region, however. The two regions that loose notably more workers than they gain through commuting are the South East (608k commuting out versus 371k commuting in) and the East of England (505k commuting out versus just 161k commuting in). In contrast, London is the biggest net beneficiary, with 935k commuting in versus 313k commuting out.

Whilst this data spans both employed and self-employed workers, regional dependency upon commuting freelancers is likely to become strained where bans on Personal Service Companies working are introduced, as a consequence of the looming change in off-payroll protocols in the private sector.

Media Coverage

Contractor sector susses out ‘complex’ draft secondary IR35 legislation
Read Article >

Limited company contractor population ‘to bounce back’ after IR35 reform
Read Article >

People Management
Firms using third-party recruiters could still face tax bills under IR35 changes
Read Article >

Computer Weekly
IR35 private sector reforms: BP contractors notified of incoming ban on PSCs
Read Article >

Advice from the Experts


Options for contractors approaching the end of the road

If your business is coming up to the end of its lifespan for any reason, you may be wondering what to do with it.

Depending on your circumstances, there are three most common options you will encounter.

Read the Article >

Upcoming Events


TALiNT Agency Leaders Year Ahead Conference
27th February 2020 08:30 – 15:30

FCSA are pleased to sponsor the 2020 TALiNT Agency Leaders Year Ahead conference which will be focusing on industry trends and the best business strategies agencies can use to grow their business across the UK and onto the world stage in 2020.

TALiNT Agency Leaders is the largest recruitment agency event series in the UK & Europe. The events combine industry leading keynote talks, interactive discussion sessions and relaxed social networking opportunities which means our delegates derive a multitude of business leading ideas and benefits.

This event is free of charge for recruitment business owners, directors, managers and senior executives on a first come first served basis.

As well as sponsoring, Julia Kermode will also be speaking at this event when she will explain to recruiters what is changing with IR35 that is due to come into effect this April.

For more information or to register to attend, click here >

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