A new good practice charter for umbrella companies has been making the rounds recently in the hopes it will help protect workers’ relationships with clients.
A contractor rights campaign group known as All Umbrella Companies Are Equal has launched a new initiative in exhorting umbrella firms to sign on to a new ‘Straight Talking Charter,’ an attempt to safeguard the rights of umbrella workers and strengthen their relationships with their clients. There are several guidelines put forward by the new charter, among them including a guarantee of a minimum of 336 hours to be provided to a contractor over the course of 12 months.
There are also provisions to provide sick pay and other statutory payments, and the charter also includes guidelines for providing expense payments in addition. Checks undertaken randomly on a weekly basis will be conducted by umbrella company staff members in order to legitimise all expense claims under the new charter, and likewise will there be oversight on the part of umbrella companies making sure that National Insurance payments are made properly and that umbrella contractors are subjected to PAYE as well.
Since there’s little oversight and regulation of the umbrella company industry by official government entities such as Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, the new charter has been designed to help the industry police itself and provide the right level of care for its workers. The mastermind behind the new charter, a former taxman himself known only as ‘Roger,’ says he wants to provide greater support to umbrella contractors and that he wants to ensure that their taxation information is sorted properly in order to avoid needless investigations or tax liabilities.
I think Roger’s doing a wonderful thing here by providing his expertise and his highly experienced wisdom when it comes to taxation issues surrounding umbrella company workers. I certainly do hope that this new campaign group that the man has founded grows in popularity and strength, as many of the proposed changes will indeed make handling tax matters much easier; however I have more than a few doubts that Roger’s innovative suggestions may just end up swept under the rug and effectively dismissed by an industry that can sometimes leave sight of the forest for the trees!
With any luck, this will catch on. All it needs are one or two large-sized umbrella companies to publicly declare their belief in the new charter and voluntarily adopt its tenets. Doing so will undoubtedly pave the way for all sorts of positive developments!