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Julia Kermode, CEO of the Freelancer and Contractor Services Association (FCSA), has responded to a request by the Chair of a Parliamentary investigation into working practices to come forward and meet members of its panel.

“The Future World of Work” select committee is focusing on the issues of insecure work and employee rights and was launched by MPs on the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee. The Committee’s Chair, Iain Wright, responded last week to a probe into Umbrella Companies by BBC Yorkshire, which exclusively targeted the dubious practices of some rogue businesses.

He said that he wants someone to come before the select committee and justify why Umbrella Companies are a good deal for workers.

Last week, Ms Kermode told the BBC that the FCSA is always ready to expose bad practice in the sector to prevent all Umbrella Companies from being tarnished by the same brush.

She clarified that workers engaged as Umbrella Company Employees never have to worry about undertaking their own tax administration. Contracting in this way is thereby simplified for many people, she added, although she conceded that not every Umbrella is working in the best interests of clients.

This week, Ms Kermode responded directly to Mr Wright’s call for someone representing Umbrella Companies to meet with the select committee.

Explaining that the FCSA had already submitted its written response to the inquiry last December, she expressed delight at the prospect of meeting the committee in person to offer evidence and detail precisely why Umbrella Companies are a positive option for many contractors.

She said: “A compliant Umbrella employs contractors and provides them with all statutory rights and benefits of permanent employment whilst enabling the worker to fulfil a series of short-term positions and have their financial affairs managed centrally. It is concerning that benefits of Umbrella Employment are constantly overlooked and that an entire specialism seems to be tarnished with the same brush, so I am keen to redress the balance.”

Ms Kermode is also scheduled to meet with the national officer of the UNITE union, Bernard McAulay. Their decision to discuss Umbrella Company issues follows an on-air debate between the two on BBC Radio Leeds last week. Both agreed that such a meeting is long overdue.

Ms Kermode stressed that the FCSA works diligently to promote compliance and ethical issues and said that she wishes to discuss matters further with Mr McAulay so that they can open talks on how to stamp out poor practice. She added: “Both FCSA and UNITE seek to protect the workforce from exploitation, so I am pleased that Mr McAulay has agreed to meet me.”

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