HMRC makes last-minute change to IR35 rule

HM Revenue & Customs have announced changes to the operation of off-payroll working rules, meaning they will now only apply to payments made for services provided on or after 6 April 2020.

The announcement was made this morning (Friday 07 February) ahead of the publication of the government’s review into implementation of the new rules, in response to a common issue raised over the course of the review, which is businesses’ concerns over what payments the rules apply to – and from when.

The government says the decision was taken to give businesses certainty and more time to prepare to ensure the smooth and successful implementation of the reforms that come into force from 6 April.

To find out more, read Recruiter’s report at:

The Apprentice – Your Hired!

This week is National Apprenticeship week and here at Sure Group we are firm believers in supporting the youth of today and giving them an opportunity to progress and develop their careers.

Every year we take on a new apprentice and last year saw Max join our company through Cityworks.

Like most of us at his age, Max wasn’t sure what he wanted to do after leaving school, so he joined the Apprenticeship scheme and undertook an NVQ level 2 in Customer Care.

Since joining the Sure Group, Max has progressed month on month. His apprenticeship has seen him undertake a variety of roles in relation to the recruitment industry. He has not just performed general administrative duties but also become a key player within our industrial department, overseeing the whole recruitment process from resourcing, registering and placing candidates.

Max said “When I was offered an apprenticeship placement at a recruitment company I wasn’t too sure what I would be doing, but from day one I was made welcomed and part of the team. Every day is different and I am faced with new challenges which I enjoy and this opportunity has helped me with my confidence.

“I still have a lot to learn but I am looking forward to progressing my career here at the Sure Group.”

At the Sure Group we feel that Max has become an integral part of the team and are excited in seeing him progress with our company over the coming years.

Max is now coming to the end of his apprenticeship and following his success here has been offered a permanent opportunity with us as a Junior Consultant as from March this year.

So if you are looking for an opportunity to join a company that offers you diversity and are looking for a challenge in an industry that is rewarding then forward your CV to



Changes to holiday pay calculations

Calculation of holiday pay for variable workers

(Amendments to regulation 16 of the Working Time Regulations 1998)

What is the law now?

As it stands, all employees are entitled to paid annual leave and they must be paid the same amount when on holiday as they would receive when they’re at work – regardless of their working pattern.

Holiday pay can be calculated based on the days or hours worked per week, annual hours, compressed hours or shifts.

If an employee’s working hours don’t vary (i.e. they work 9am – 5:30pm, 5 days per week), their holiday pay should be calculated using their usual pay rate.

For example, Jack works from 9am to 5:30pm every day, Monday to Friday. If he takes seven days of annual leave in January, he will be paid the same amount as if he has worked a typical week.

However (and this is where it gets a little complicated), if an employee doesn’t have fixed or regular hours or their pay isn’t always the same, their holiday pay is calculated based on the average number of hours worked, at their average pay in the previous 12 weeks. 12 weeks being the current holiday reference period under the current iteration of the Working Time Regulations.

For example, Jill has worked an average of 23 hours per week over the last 12 weeks and has been paid an average of £10.50 per hour for her work. As such, she would be entitled to £241.50 per week as holiday pay (£10.50 per hour x 23 hours).

What will change on 6th April 2020?

The amendments being made to the Working Time Regulations 1998 that come into force in April will make changes to the holiday reference period which is currently 12 weeks.

The holiday reference period used to calculate holiday pay for variable workers is being increased to 52 weeks (for employees that have been in your employment for more than 52 weeks).

Thus, to calculate the holiday pay for an employee on variable hours or pay, you will need to work out the average hours worked and average pay from the previous 52 weeks.

If you have employees on variable hours or pay that have been in your employment for less than 52 weeks, the holiday reference period will be the number of weeks for which they have been employed. Again, you would need to calculate the average number of hours worked and that average pay for the period of time they have been employed.

As with current employment law, any weeks an employee hasn’t worked or received pay for should be excluded from your calculations.

What does it mean for your business?

These changes to the methods in which holiday pay is calculated should greatly benefit employees on variable hours. The change in reference period should help even out any peaks and troughs in pay for employees, particularly those in seasonal roles.

What it does mean for your business, however, is that you must ensure that your records of the hours worked and pay received by these employees are correct as any incorrect records will directly impact an employee’s pay. Online clocking in systems or timesheets can be helpful to track the exact hours worked by each employee, where details of hours worked and any variable pay entitlement can be logged. This information is then securely stored online and is easily accessible whenever employees make annual leave requests.






Survey reveals half of employees seek flexible working in 2020

It’s been revealed that the number one priority for the workforce of 2020 is flexible working.

That’s according to a new survey which has found one in two employees value flexible working far higher than holidays and benefits (1%), job security (6%), commute time (6%) and even salary (31%).

It’s the results of a survey of over 800 people aged 18-65 which was carried out by online recruitment company Redwigwam, which matches workers with a wide range of flexible jobs.

Founder and CEO Lorna Davidson said: “The days of a strict 9-5 will soon be a thing of the past. Businesses not prepared to offer flexible working are in danger of making their employees not feel valued and with the feeling that their working pattern does not fit their lifestyle.”

To read the full article, visit

New employees’ right to a statement of particulars on their first day

(Amendment to the Employment Rights Act 1996)

What is the law now?

At present, UK employment law states that an employer must give employees a written statement of employment particulars within the first two months of their employment (providing their employment lasts more than a month). This document, often contained within a contract of employment, outlines the basic terms and conditions of employment.

These can be delivered in instalments, as long as all particulars are delivered within two months of the start of employment.

At minimum, a principal statement of particulars must include:

  • the business’ name,
  • the employee’s name, job title or a description of work and start date,
  • if a previous job counts towards a period of continuous employment, the date the period started,
  • how much and how often an employee will get paid,
  • hours of work (and if employees will have to work Sundays, nights or overtime),
  • holiday entitlement(and if that includes public holidays),
  • where an employee will be working and whether they might have to relocate,
  • if an employee is expected to work in different places, where these will be and what the employer’s address is.

A further written statement must also contain information, where applicable, about:

  • how long a temporary job is expected to last,
  • the end date of a fixed-term contract,
  • notice periods,
  • collective agreements,
  • pensions,
  • who to go to with a grievance,
  • how to complain about how a grievance is handled,
  • how to complain about a disciplinary or dismissal decision.

What will change on 6th April 2020?

Amendments to UK employment law that come into force in April state that employees have “the right to a written statement of particulars of employment when an individual begins employment (a day one right)” (, 2018).

Employers will also have to include further information on the statement of particulars when an employee joins a business

These include:

  • Terms and conditions relating to hours of work including normal working hours, the days of the week the worker is required to work and whether or not working hours/days may be variable (and if so, how they may vary or how the variation will be determined),
  • any other paid leave,
  • any other benefits (childcare vouchers, health insurance, health cash plans, food, accommodation etc where applicable),
  • details of any probationary period (including its conditions and duration),
  • any training entitlement provided by the employer, any training that the employee is required to complete and any mandatory training costs not covered by the employer.

Furthermore, existing employees can, on or after 6th April 2020, request an updated statement of particulars from their employer. This must be delivered to the employee no later than one month after the request has been made.

This amendment to the Employment Rights Act states that a statement of particulars can no longer be delivered in instalments, but must be provided to all employees from day one of starting work and as one single document.

What does it mean for your business?

In short, you need to be better prepared when welcoming new employees to your business. Review your existing contracts and make the necessary changes to accommodate these changes. Make sure your business’ contract of employment covers off all of the required information for a statement of particulars and update it as necessary for any new employees.

This should ensure clearer lines of communication between HR in preparing a contract and/or statement of particulars and the manager conducting interviews and negotiations with candidates. The job being offered should be documented in its entirety and all of the necessary information required for a statement of particulars should be clear and agreed between HR, the hiring manager/head of department and the new starter ahead of their first day.

While the changes to the Employment Rights Act 1996 don’t state that you have to provide all existing employees with an updated statement of particulars – be prepared for an existing employee to request one on or after 6th April 2020 (and at any time up to three months after the end of their employment).






IR35 Update

In brief, IR35, or Intermediaries Legislation, is a piece of tax legislation that first came about back in 2000, designed to combat tax avoidance from what HMRC saw as “disguised employment” by individuals supplying services through limited companies.

Since April 2000, IR35 legislation has dictated whether a contractor, who is providing services through their own limited company is a disguised employee of the hirer and therefore their remuneration is taxed via PAYE as salary or, if they are self-employed and in business on their own account, their remuneration can be paid as expenses and dividends saving the contractor £000’s in tax and national insurance.

Based on the existing legislation, contractors working within the Private Sector decide on their current tax status along with how much tax liability they have and the HMRC believe that 9 out of 10 of the decisions made by the contractors surrounding IR35 are incorrect thus resulting in the government losing millions of pounds in tax revenue per year.

The rules have evolved and changed in the years since their introduction, but essentially the purpose is to identify workers who would be classed as employees if you removed the fact they operate via a limited company.

In the eyes of HMRC if someone is doing the same work, in the same place, in the same way as an employee, they should be taxed as an employee.

To quote HMRC: “The aim of the legislation is to eliminate the avoidance of tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) through the use of Intermediaries, such as Personal Service Companies or Partnerships, in circumstances where an individual worker would otherwise, for tax purposes, be regarded an employee of the client”.

Due to non-compliance, the Government changed the application of the IR35 rules in the public sector in April 2017, these are known as the “off payroll rules”

The Government believes the time is now right to extend the off-payroll rules into the private sector and are looking at introducing this legislation as from 6 April 2020, however we have experienced an unprecedented and turbulent 2019 within politics and Brexit, which has since seen a General Election take place on the 12th December.

Due to this it has resulted in the autumn budget which was to be held on 6 November 2019 being cancelled, which would have confirmed the introduction date of the new IR35 legislation. However, following the Conservative’s election victory, the Chancellor Sajid Javid has since announced his first budget date of 11 March 2020 which will hopefully provide clarity on IR35


What will happen in April 2020? 

As from 6 April 2020 the off payroll rules may apply to the private sector. This means that a client will need to know how an agency worker is engaged e.g. PAYE by a recruitment agency, or whether paid via an intermediary such as a Personal Service Company (PCS) or an umbrella company.

The key issue is that where the off-payroll rules apply, the client will be responsible     for assessing the contractor’s status for tax purpose.

Which clients will the off-payroll rules apply to and what will they need to do? 

Small companies will be exempt from IR35 if it meets two or more of the following criteria:

a)  Has an annual turnover of not more than £10.2 million
b)  A balance sheet total of not more than £5.1 million
c)  No more than 50 employees

Where companies are exempt, the existing IR35 rules (where the intermediary is responsible for applying the rules) will continue to apply

Companies with a Turnover of more than £10.2 million 

From 6 April 2020 the off-payroll rules apply to all public authorities, medium and large companies and organisations with a turnover of more than £10.2 million and will be down to the client to determine the workers IR35 status

How to Determine IR35 Status

Determining the IR35 status for a particular contract hinges on whether the worker would be classed as an employee if they were not working through a limited company. If they are determined as “caught by” or “inside” IR35, they are deemed as a “disguised employee” and relevant tax implication will apply. If they are determined as “not caught by” or “outside” IR35, they are deemed to be genuinely a business in their own right, supplying services in a business to business transaction. The IR35 status of an assignment dictates how tax and National Insurance is handled, therefore the amount of money they take home week on week will be affected. If an assignment is classed as inside IR35, most of the income paid to the limited company will be subject to PAYE tax and National Insurance deductions.

It is important to stress that IR35 status applies to the Contract or Assignment, not the individual worker. This means that in the course of their contracting career they may be offered both IR35 caught and not caught contracts, with different tax treatment for each.

Inside or Outside IR35

There are two main factors which drive IR35 status – the written contract between the limited company and the agency or end client and how it reflects in actual working practices, day to day.

In the case of an IR35 investigation, HMRC will consider both elements to decide whether the relationship is one of employment or one of business to business services. They will also review the entire supply chain, which will likely mean a review of any agreement between the Agency and the Client.

The tests which determine IR35 status are complex and have evolved out of decades of case law. Among other factors, the following “tests of employment” may be applied:

Mutuality of obligation

Is the agency or client obliged to offer work  and is the worker  obliged to take it?


Is the personal service of the worker required, or can they send a substitute to do the work? (Note – a replacement is not a substitution)


What degree of control does the client have over what, how, when and where the worker completes the work?

For a contract to be classified as caught by IR35, the tests must indicate an employment relationship in all 3 of the above areas. HMRC will try to establish whether the relationship is one of employment, or one of business to business services.

Making the Tax Status Decision

As mentioned previously it is the client responsibility for assessing the contractor’s status for tax and determine an accurate IR35 status decision (called a Status Determination Statement (SDS))

In 2017 the HMRC developed an online tool known as CEST – Check Employment Status for Tax.

This tool is designed to assist workers, clients and other relevant parties to ensure that a contracts IR35 status is correctly determined. CEST uses a series of questions to determine whether the worker is employed or self-employed for tax purposes.

HMRC have said that CEST is the only IR35 decision-making tool they will stand by.      However, it is worth noting that they also state that use of CEST is not compulsory, nor do they have a formal appeal process if you think an outcome has been determined incorrectly.

Passing Status Decisions through the Supply Chain

Once the client has made the tax decision, the client will have to pass that decision, together with the reasons for the decision to the recruitment agency and the off payroll worker by way of providing a Status Determination Statement (SDS).

Paying the off-payroll worker if they are deemed “Inside IR35”

If an assignment /engagement is deemed as “Inside IR35” (regardless of who makes that determination), the gross earnings will be subject to “deemed payments”, in other words the Personal Service Company will be liable to PAYE and NIC from that payment just as if they were employed as a direct employee.

Clearly if the contractor is deemed inside IR35 then as from April 2020 they will suffer financially. It is estimated the impact of IR35 will cost circa £100 to £150 to per week

Is there a solution?

There are two main options available to ensure that all parties comply with the new IR35 legislation and they are as follows:

A Temporary Agency Worker Paid PAYE

The contractors become a Temporary Agency Worker and operates on a Contract for Service, whereby they are paid weekly via PAYE eliminating any risk to all parties.

However there are increased costs to the agency to take into consideration as well   as the financial loss to the contractor.

There are some benefits for the contractor to consider by operating via PAYE e.g.

  • Holiday pay
  • Sick pay
  • Taxed at source
  • Save on Professional Fees associated with a Limited Company

The Contractor Engages via an Umbrella Company

If a contractor is assessed as “Inside IR35” then a practical and compliant way to pay to get the contractor paid is via an Umbrella company, who engage flexible workers under an employment relationship. The Umbrella Company takes care of all the PAYE, NIC and all related administration and is a simple way to work.

The benefits of using an Umbrella Company are similar to those as PAYE

The disadvantage of Umbrella Companies are that contractors often find their quoted and actual pay rates confusing. This is because they are quoted a Limited Company rate by the agency but when the contractor receives there payslip from the Umbrella Company they have deducted PAYE, NIC, Apprentice levy etc.

The Government have realised this and following the Good Work Plan they have introduced further legislation as from April 2020 whereby agencies will need to provide and issue Key Information Documents (KID) to workers which will provide pay illustrations.

Paying the off-payroll worker if they are deemed “Outside IR35”

If an assignment/engagement is deemed as “Outside IR35” then the PCS will be entitled to receive their full gross payment with no deductions and the intermediary will be responsible for their own tax affairs.

The Cost Impact of Inside IR35

The proposed introduction of IR35 is a fundamental change in tax rules affecting how recruitment agencies and clients engage with contractors.

We are currently undertaking due diligence on all our clients and PSC’s and are working in partnership regarding the introduction of IR35 and determining how or if this legislation will have any impact on our engagement of drivers who are currently operating via PSC’s along with our supply and noticeably our charge rates with our clients, as SureStaffing will not be able to simply absorb the additional costs associated with “Inside IR35” and pay contractors the same rates.


We are still waiting for draft transfer liability legislation, however, at present the proposed legislation states the liability should rest with a party that has failed to fulfil its obligations until such time as it does meet its obligations at which point liability moves down the chain. However, if HMRC are unable to collect any outstanding tax liability from a party, the consultation proposes that the liability should transfer to the first party or agency in the chain, and if that fails, then HMRC will purse the client.

At this point it is not appropriate for a client to ask an agency to indemnify them           against any liability if the client does not do what it is required to do under the new    
IR35 legislation.


All of the “Inside IR35” options involve the deduction of PAYE taxes. It is clear from the government over the last few years that this is the direction of travel for all workers irrespective of how they are defined and wants its fair share of tax revenue.

The Government is assessing the impact of things like IR35, Intermediaries Reporting, The Taylor Review and will be looking to implement the way in which it, the government and HMRC consider workers employment status.

We are aware that some contractors may try to maintain their net income by using noncompliant intermediaries where there may be for example an offshore or loan scheme element which is not in the spirit of the IR35 Legislation and as such could incur potential liabilities under the criminal finances act and intermediaries legislation

With this in mind, SureStaffing are working with several of the UK’s main Umbrella Companies who are FCSA Accredited Umbrella Organisations.

The FCSA is the only compliance standard operating in the sector which is endorsed by the UK’s largest recruitment bodies; REC, APSCO and TEAM. Ernest & Young independently audit to a strict code of compliance and a copy of the audit report is sent to HMRC for transparency.

We want to ensure that we as a company, along with our clients and workers are fully compliant at all times and comply with all governing legislation giving every one peace of mind. Hopefully this summary of IR35 has been useful and if you are concerned or have any questions on how IR35 could affect your business then please do not hesitate to contact us. 

A guide to the Good Work Plan and pay parity

The Taylor Review

In October 2016, the UK government commissioned an independent review of the UK’s
current work practices in order to keep pace with modern business models.

Matthew Taylor was appointed to lead this review and in July 2017 he presented his
“Good Work; the Taylor review of modern working practices”.

Contained in his review were numerous recommendations proposed, one of which was
that the Swedish Derogation should be repealed completely.

In response to this, in December 2017 the Government published its response to the
Taylor Review named “The Good Work Plan”, which sets out what has been described
as “the biggest package of workplace reforms for over 20 years” and outlines their
commitment to improving UK employment laws and to provide workers with access to
fair and decent work.

What is The Swedish Derogation (R10)?

The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (AWR) came in to force in October 2011 and
provide agency workers with the right to be engaged on terms, relating to certain
employment rights, which are at least favourable as the terms applicable to the staff of
the client they are supplied to. These rights, often referred to as equal treatment, apply
to agency workers once they have completed their qualifying period (12 weeks)

Equal treatment applies to the terms relating to:

  • Pay
  • Duration of working time
  • Night work
  • Rest periods
  • Rest breaks
  • Annual leave

However equal pay doesn’t apply if an agency worker is engaged on a contract of
employment that complies with all provisions of Regulation 10 of the AWR. Such
contracts are commonly referred to as “Swedish Derogation” or “R10” contracts.

The Swedish Derogation is shorthand for a special type of employment contract provided for in Regulation 10 of the AWR. Its official name is a “pay between assignments” contract because workers engaged on these contracts with a temporary recruitment agency give up the right to pay parity with comparable permanent staff in return for a guarantee to receive a certain amount of pay when they have gaps between assignments.

The Swedish Derogation contract has been mostly used where large numbers of lower
paid minimum wage temps are needed e.g. retail, manufacturing, etc. According to the
Government’s figures, 8-10% of UK agency workers are on Swedish derogation contracts.

What does the removal of the Swedish Derogation mean?

Abolition of the derogation means that all agency workers will be entitled to pay
parity after the 12 week qualifying period and will have to be issued Regulation 5
employment contracts.

By no later than 30 April 2020 recruitment agencies must provide workers whose
existing contracts contain a Swedish derogation provision with a written statement
telling them that with effect from 6 April 2020, those provisions no longer apply.
Agency workers can bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal where their employer
fails to provide that statement on time.

Workers asserting rights under the new Regulations will be protected from
detriment and unfair dismissal.

What is the Qualifying Period?

All agency workers will be entitled to pay parity with effect from 6th April 2020, if they
have completed the 12-week qualifying period, or at the end of the qualifying period if
they have not completed 12 weeks’ work.

What is pay parity?

An agency worker is entitled to the same basic working and employment conditions as
direct recruits of the same business once they have undertaken the same role with the
same end client for 12 continuous calendar weeks.

It Includes;

  • Any sum payable in connection with the agency worker’s employment,
    including certain bonus payments, holiday pay, overtime, shift allowances
    and unsociable hours premiums.

It Does Not Include;

  • Any bonuses which are not directly attributable to the amount or quality
    of the work done by a worker, and which are given to a worker for a reason
    other than their personal output.
  • End client specific benefits over and above certain statutory rights such as
    sick pay, maternity/paternity pay, adoption pay, pension contributions and
    redundancy pay are excluded. (These statutory rights would be covered by
    either recruitment agency or intermediary/umbrella)

Why are clients and agencies worried?

If the end client has agency workers who are currently employed under Swedish
derogation contracts, then these changes could have significant financial implications
after the 12-week qualifying period because we the recruitment agency will then have to
pay the agency worker the same rate as a permanent member of staff doing the same
job at that company.

This will mean either charge rates have to go up for the end client, to accommodate the
AWR 12 week rule, as well as the additional administrative cost of ensuring Regulation 5 Pay Parity contracts are compliant.

How much this impacts on each end client and recruitment agency will depend on how
many agency workers they have on Swedish derogation contracts, how long for and in
what kind of roles. In particular, of course, the cost will depend on how great is the gap
between what the agency currently pay those temps and what it will need to pay when
they are entitled to the same rates as the end clients comparable permanent staff.

What steps are SureStaffing taking?

At SureStaffing, we are currently talking to all our clients to discuss the ramifications
of the abolishment of Swedish Derogation and sending out Due Diligence
Questionnaires to obtain all matters surrounding equal treatment and pay parity and
advise those clients with whom this will impact and to discuss the way forward.

EU Jobseekers unclear on status following Brexit

Today (Friday 31 January), on Brexit Day, the Recruiter has reported on the uncertainty surrounding status for EU jobseekers coming to Britain.

A director from hospitality recruiter CJUK told the publication that European workers seeking to come to the UK are not clear at all over what their status will be:

“There is a lot of concern as to what the hell Brexit is all about and they’re scared that they will be regarded as second-class citizens and treated badly. They’re going to be forced to buy medical insurance and they have no idea as to what the costs are and all the rest of it, so there’s a huge nervousness about coming to the UK.

“That started probably 18 months ago and got progressively worse until the elections … but there is still a lot of nervousness and in certain sectors it’s very hard to find people willing to come to the UK at this juncture. If it’s handled smartly… then that will quickly go away.”

The Recruiter also spoke to international law firm Dorsey & Whitney, which said there will be no immediate changes for EU workers and it is unlikely wholesale changes will be made.

To read the full article, click here:




‘Jack’s Law’ to give bereaved parents two weeks’ statutory leave

Parents who suffer the devastating loss of a child will be entitled to two weeks’ statutory leave under new UK legislation.

The government has announced the Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Regulations, known as Jack’s Law in memory of Jack Herd, whose mother Lucy campaigned tirelessly on the issue, will come into effect from April.

Jack’s law means all employed parents will have a statutory right to a minimum of two weeks’ leave if they lose a child under the age of 18, or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy, irrespective of how long they have worked for their employer.

Parents will be able to take the leave as either a single block of two weeks, or as two separate blocks of one week each taken at different times across the first year after their child’s death. This means they can match their leave to the times they need it most, which could be in the early days or over the first anniversary.

For more information on Jack’s Law, visit

UK government launches off-payroll working review

Last week, the government announced it was launching a review of changes to off-payroll working rules to ensure the smooth implementation of the reforms, which are set to come into force in April 2020.

Off-payroll working rules, known as IR35, were introduced in 2000 to ensure that workers employed through their own company, pay similar taxes to other employees.

The reforms are designed to tackle non-compliance with off-payroll working rules by making medium and large organisations in the private and third sectors responsible for determining the tax status of contractors, rather than the contractors themselves.

The review, which will conclude by mid-February, will engage with affected individuals and businesses on their experiences of the implementation of these reforms.

To read the full article on visit: