Alternative contracting options
The economic impact of COVID and the uncertain outlook has necessitated employers looking for alternative ways to staff their businesses, other than by using permanent employees.
Permanent employees can be expensive, and if they have not already started doing so, many businesses will need to rethink their workforce strategy.
For most employers this has so far meant dramatic changes to the structure of their workforce and the way their staff work. For some, it has also meant that there is insufficient work to keep all their staff meaningfully employed. Tighter regulation, litigation risk and reputational hazards are making it harder to rely on some of the available alternative contracting options – such as zero hours contracts and “gig economy” type arrangements.
We are inevitably seeing an increase in the use of freelancers, fixed term employees and agency workers for specific projects. The use of intermediaries (such as agencies and umbrella companies) between the “freelancer” and the end-user organisation is also set to increase further in the run up to, and following the forthcoming reforms to the IR35 rules, which come into effect in April 2021.
There has also been talk of a jobless recovery where employers recruit robots not people for certain tasks.
The world of employment law: Casual, on-call and freelance workers09 March 2021
Questions of employment status continue to preoccupy courts and legislators, as new technology and new ways of working pose a challenge to traditional definitions of employee and contractor. Cases on this issue are being brought around the world, many of which revolve around taxi and delivery drivers engaged through digital platforms.
Clarification of IR35 reforms in Budget04 March 2021
Helpful clarifications of the forthcoming changes to off-payroll working arrangements in the private sector were contained in a policy paper released by HMRC as part of the 2021 Budget.
Supreme Court confirms that Uber drivers are workers22 February 2021
The Supreme Court has unanimously decided that drivers engaged by Uber are workers rather than independent contractors. It also decided that drivers are working when they are signed into the Uber app and ready to work.
Flexible staffing options11 February 2021
There are other ways to staff a business apart from using permanent employees on full time contracts.
IR35 reforms and international issues21 January 2021
The new IR35 rules create some particularly complex issues where a contractor is based outside the UK. This article looks at some of the frequently asked questions.
Don’t leave IR35 until the last minute – five things you should be doing now06 January 2021
With less than three months to go until significant changes to the IR35 rules take effect in April 2021, this article sets out five steps that employers should consider taking now.
Agency workers and how to engage them07 October 2020
This article looks at the increasing popularity of agency workers in light of coronavirus and the main points that businesses should consider when seeking to engage them.