Umbrella Company Employees, especially those contracting in hazardous sectors such as construction or rail, will be aware that recruitment firms frequently offer personal accident cover; however, shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna’s recent claim in parliament that recruiters are mis-selling insurance cover to agency workers has met with a firm rebuttal from the REC.

Tom Hadley, director of policy and professional services at the REC, responded vigorously to Mr Umunna’s claim that he had seen evidence exposing six employment companies for selling personal accident cover to workers who did not need it. Describing the charge of profiteering as “a very serious allegation”, Mr Hadley called upon Mr Umunna to share any specific evidence to support such accusations.

Mr Hadley explained that recruiters were doing nothing wrong in offering workers a chance to purchase accident insurance; many organisations, including trade unions, offer such products to their employees and members.

The cover, Mr Hadley continued, is appropriate for workers in high-risk sectors, covering them for off-site accidents that could prevent them from working and providing them with an income while they recover. Temp workers, he said, were simply being offered the same support enjoyed by permanent and contracted employees.

Concluding, Mr Hadley said: “As the professional body for the recruitment industry in the UK we require all our members to abide by our code of conduct, which requires them to be open and transparent with their workers. Anyone concerned can contact us and we have a robust complaints process for handling agency workers’ concerns and ensuring agencies are compliant with the both law and best practice.”

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