Has All Your Hard Work on IR35 Been in Vain?

The latest Covid-19 announcement has seen the UK government confirm that reforms to the IR35 legislation, set to come into effect from April 6th, will be postponed until 2021.

Prior to this announcement (17 March 2020), it seemed that the freelance workforce was one of the few not being offered direct financial support as we battle this worldwide pandemic, with businesses small and large being given rates holidays (not something that will impact your average PSC) or access to government-underwritten loans to the tune of £330Bn. It remains to be seen, though, what reaction companies, and those engaged through PSC arrangements, will actually have at this late stage.

Most of our clients began preparations for reviewing their engagement structures mid-2019, and by now, the vast majority have already assessed their incumbent populations, and built, with Beeline’s support, means to determine and record role and assignment statuses. Will this all now be torn down or mothballed for 12 months? Will assignments already re-structured via Umbrella companies, or converted into PAYE engagements be reversed? Has all that hard work been in vain? We certainly hope not.

Much of the preparation work for the changes has rightly centred on the need to better understand the engagement models used for non-permanent hiring, and educating those who do the hiring in the behaviours required of all parties to ensure compliance. That work has not been in vain, and the extension until 2021 will allow for any adjustments to become established, for determination paths to be stress-tested, and for solutions to be enriched to the benefit of both the hirer and the hired. The visibility gained over the past 9 months must not be squandered, but should be leveraged to build a more deliberate workforce mix, the better to weather the business landscape that emerges from Covid-19’s wake.

Having rushed to tidy up our houses for inspection, we have now been given an extension of time. Rather than allow our surroundings to become messy again, let us use the extra time to revisit items we hastily stashed out of sight in the attic, and make better determinations as to their long-term future.

This blog was written by Alastair Dobson, Senior Client Relationship Manager. Alastair has spent over ten years at Beeline and has worked in the staffing industry for more than 20 years.

This blog was published on 18 March 2020.

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