FCSA and APSCo comment on latest announcements from government to support workers.

Further support required.

APSCo has welcomed the new clarity given by the Chancellor on the job retention scheme alongside the help given for the self employed. Responding to last night’s announcement which confirmed that the scheme would apply to agency workers, Tania Bowers, Legal Counsel and Head of Public Affairs said: “We are very pleased that the recruitment sector now has some clarity over how the Job Retention Scheme will work. There is clear reference in the guidance to those working through an employment business and the guidance clearly sets out how to calculate payments for workers whose pay varies (i.e. zero hours and agency workers). The other good news is that the grant will also cover the cost of NI and pension contributions. The cap is in respect of the employee’s salary – employers NI and minimum statutory pension payments paid in respect of that salary can be claimed back on top of the £2,500.”

She added: “We also welcome the package announced for the self-employed although contractors working through a PSC in the professional sectors served by APSCo members are unlikely to benefit as they will generally be generating profits above the £50,000 trading profits cap.” We noted the Chancellor’s comment on the fairness of the differential rates of tax for the self-employed and how this could be subject to review. We have long called for a review of employment status for tax and rights and a separate definition of Independent Professional for highly skilled contractors.” The government has issued guidance in relation to the coronavirus job retentions scheme: https//www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

Julia Kermode, Chief Executive of the Freelancer & Contractor Services Association also responded to the latest announcements and events: “We welcome the additional clarity given last night in relation to the coronavirus job retention scheme,” she said. “There are lots of positives, and the government has listened to our lobbying that employers NICs should be reimbursed in addition to the 80 per cent salary for furloughed employees. However there is still an enormous amount of detail that needs to be clarified before we can be certain how the scheme will interact with umbrella employment. We submitted numerous urgent questions to the government this morning, and we strongly urge for clarity to be given as soon as possible as there are at least 625k umbrella employees waiting for it.”

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