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    Crystal News

    Employers need to hire to meet demand but worry about finding skilled contractors, says REC Report on Jobs

    March 26th, 2015

    UK employers are poised to scour the professional contracting community in search of skilled freelancers specialising in IT, engineering and construction, with nearly four in ten (39%) reporting ‘no capacity’ to take on new business without more staff and a further 56% declaring that they only have ‘a little’ capacity. So says the latest Report on Jobs survey from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, which reveals that the number of employers reporting zero or limited capacity has climbed five percentage points in a month, from February’s 90% to 95% in March. Over the same period the number reporting ‘a fair amount’ of capacity has halved, shrinking from 10% to 5%. […]

    Government warned to distinguish between vulnerable workers and professionals

    March 24th, 2015

    APSCo has responded to the chancellor’s budget pledge to clamp down on “agencies and Umbrella Companies who abuse tax reliefs on travel and subsistence” with a robust note of caution: do not presume that the practices of rogue intermediaries operating with low-skilled, low-paid workers represent those of Umbrella Companies in the professional sector. Sam Hurley, APSCo’s head of external relations, noted that the budget report referred to “restricting tax and subsidy relief for workers engaged through an employment intermediary” if it could be shown that he or she was under the control, supervision or direction of the client. Government officials, Ms Hurley continued, may therefore apply a similar test to […]

    The Budget 2015: Umbrella Companies, Employment Intermediaries and Tax Relief

    March 19th, 2015

    Last year’s Autumn Statement announced that the government would review the use of overarching contracts of employment that allow some temporary workers and their employers to benefit from tax relief for home-to-work travel expenses. Following this review it was confirmed in the Chancellor’s Budget, that rather than focus on overarching contracts of employment, the government will address the rules around travel and subsistence relief for workers who are both engaged through an employment intermediary, such as an umbrella company or a personal service company, and are under the supervision, direction and control of the end-user. This will take effect from April 2016 following a consultation on the detail of the […]

    Member states must remove unjustifiable restrictions on temporary agency work, rules EU Court of Justice

    March 19th, 2015

    The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled that member states have an obligation to remove prohibitions and restrictions on the use of temporary agency workers to properly comply with Article 4(1) of the Agency Workers Directive (AWD). The much-anticipated judgement has been welcomed by Eurociett, which believes the decision will contribute to better-functioning labour markets. This is the first ever judgement from the CJEU on the AWD and it was forthright in its interpretation of Article 4(1), which was designed to limit restrictions by member states on the use of temporary agency workers. These, of course, include many skilled Umbrella Company Employees in the UK, along […]

    Despite falling oil prices, oil and gas firms plan to create 8,000 more jobs and contracts

    March 16th, 2015

    Umbrella Company Employees and other independent professionals specialising in the oil and gas industry are poised to benefit from a bonanza of new contracting opportunities, with a new survey revealing confident growth plans amongst the vast majority of companies in the industry. Of the 101 oil and gas firms polled by the Bank of Scotland, the vast majority (92%) are between them planning to create 8,000 new jobs and contracts over the next two years. 39% conceded, however, that tumbling oil process had delayed their investment plans. Recent media coverage of the effects of falling oil prices on the industry claimed that an alarming 35,000 jobs and contracts in the […]

    FCSA-led collaboration highlights benefits of Umbrella Company Employment to MPs

    March 12th, 2015

    The positive benefits of Umbrella Company Employment have been showcased to MPs by representatives from a collaboration of 38 firms, which between them employ around 90,000 contingent workers. The collaboration, which was organised by the FCSA, addressed constituency MPs and members of the Business and Treasury committees and the Freelance All-Party Group, all of whom were invited to attend the informal forum to learn more about the freelancing and contracting sector and address common misperceptions about the industry. The event occurs in the wake of some misleading recent media coverage concerning Umbrella Companies. In January, for example, Channel 4’s Dispatches programme reported on dubious practices by some agencies and Umbrella […]

    Labour should embrace and not criticise freelance contracting and self-employment

    March 10th, 2015

    The government’s freelancer tsar, David Morris MP, has criticised the Labour Party in the House of Commons for failing to recognise the importance of the growing professional contracting and freelancing sector of the UK labour market. Mr Morris was referring to the Labour Party’s recently published document A Better Plan for Britain’s Prosperity, which appears to interpret the rise of freelancing and self-employment as evidence of increasing insecurity in the labour market ‒ a description that many skilled professional contractors and Umbrella Company Employees would not recognise as applicable to them in any way. Mr Morris said that he was sad to see that the opposition had not recognised the […]

    UK professional permanent employees feel the strain as work-life balance deteriorates

    March 5th, 2015

    New research from Investec Private Banking has revealed that 25% of the UK’s professional permanent employees are unhappy with their work-life balance. Investec polled 2,000 professionals in the UK, seeking their views on their existing work-life balance. Nearly one-third (29%) reported that their work-life balance had worsened since 2010, although 33% were hopeful that it would improve over the next five years. Professionals working in the capital were most likely to be seen as ‘workaholics’. 38% said that this was the term used by family and friends to describe them; even so, 64% said that they still “loved” working in London. Wayne Preston, head of banking at Investec, said: “We […]

    New legislation to ease public contract procurement process for independent professionals and SMEs

    March 2nd, 2015

    The minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, has announced new legislation that should significantly benefit independent professionals, such as Umbrella Company Employees, who are interested in public sector contracting. The new measures, which came into force in February, mean that: All participants in the supply chain, including suppliers and sub-contractors, will be obliged to comply with 30-day payment terms. All public bodies will be required to publish late payment reports annually, rendering their accounting more publicly transparent. Complex forms that have deterred independent professionals and SMEs, such as the notorious pre-qualification questionnaires or PQQs, are now abolished for smaller, low-value contracts. There will be a significant widening of the […]

    IPSE applauds new investment-boosting tax break for North Sea oil producers

    February 26th, 2015

    In the wake of thousands of job cuts in the oil and gas industry caused by tumbling oil prices, Umbrella Company Employees and other freelancers contracting in the sector are set to benefit from a new investment tax break for North Sea explorers. Reports are emerging that the chancellor, George Osborne, intends to introduce the new allowance in the March 2015 budget in an effort to boost investment in the industry, which traditionally provides work for many thousands of independent contractors. The industry in many respects is the perfect setting for flexible independent professionals, as it frequently requires specialist expertise at very short notice. IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals […]