CEO Julian Pilling comments in Personnel Today on outsourced workers losing rights to negotiate pay and working conditions

The High Court has dismissed a case brought by the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB), which claimed that outsourced employees should be able to negotiate pay and conditions with the employers they work for.

The IWGB brought the collective bargaining case to the High Court on Monday on behalf of 75 workers, including security guards, post room workers and porters who work for Cordant, a security company contracted to the University of London.

Outsourced cleaners, post room staff and other workers then went on strike in protest, and in August 2018, the High Court granted permission for a judicial review.

The union claimed that Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights permits workers the right to join trade unions and collectively bargain with their employers.

But at the High Court this week, Mr Justice Supperstone ruled that this was not a breach of human rights law and dismissed the union’s case.

He said: “There is, in my view, relevant and sufficient reasons for limiting the right to compulsory collective bargaining to workers and their employers.”

If the union had won the case, this could have opened the floodgates for the 3.3 million outsourced workers in the UK to demand collective bargaining rights.

Julian Pilling, CEO of payroll company Solutio UK, said of the decision: “The protection of workers’ rights is of the utmost importance. A line must be drawn in the sand with regards to the rights of agency workers and permanent employers.

“Concise law is essential in this area in order to avoid the continual legal battles between unions and employers.”

Read Julian’s comments in Personnel Today

Peak Worker Supply Chain Management in 2019?

Supply chains are the arteries that carry the lifeblood of commerce. Thanks to the ongoing Brexit debate, public awareness of the importance of the intricate supply chains that feed British industry is at an all-time high.B

When imagining supply chains, most people think of trucks, trains, ships and aircraft carrying parts and raw materials. However, the services sector is responsible for 80% of the UK economy. The primary raw material that services firms need is people. Yet businesses have often overlooked the need to efficiently manage their worker supply chains.

The idea of the “just in time” supply chain was originally applied to the manufacturing sector. More businesses are now becoming aware that similar principles should apply to their human resources needs.

Contract workers provide businesses with greater flexibility, allowing businesses to adjust easily and rapidly to workload fluctuations. Temporary workers can be selected for the focused experience and skills required for a particular project. When time is of the essence, recruitment lead-time is minimized. Temporary workers don’t have to give notice and hiring can even take place remotely, since there is less at stake than when hiring a permanent employee.

We read daily about the disruptive effects which tariffs and increased paperwork at borders can have on material supply chains. Yet worker supply chains can be similarly disrupted by the administrative burden of hiring, onboarding and paying temporary staff.  Technology and software for temporary staffing can help to radically reduce this administrative burden, thereby increasing a firm’s adaptability and profitability.

The benefits for both companies and contractors are clear. The traditional method of administering payments to temporary staff was to manually fill out and submit time-sheets, which are then manually entered into a payroll system while the relevant tax forms would also be filled out. Nowadays, a smartphone app can be used to instantly log hours worked, to action payment and to automatically generate HMRC compliant tax forms.

The reduced administrative burden helps make the business case for greater use of temporary staff to meet increased workloads just as they arise. Significant savings can be made in relation to company payroll. Temporary staff will also usually cover their own healthcare and other benefits.

Temporary workers make business sense, by offering an adaptable worker supply chain – one which is there when you need it, but which doesn’t cost you during quiet periods in the business cycle. The trend towards flexible working is not taking place for business reasons alone. It is part of a wider social trend, driven by technology and an increased emphasis on quality of life. Contrary to much of the commentary on the topic, the evidence suggests that the trend toward temporary working is being primarily driven by workers seeking more flexible working conditions and greater professional autonomy.

The UK’s gig economy is clearly booming, with an estimated two million freelancers in 2018. These numbers are set to continue rising. The January 2019 ONS UK Labour Market Survey asked temporary employees why they were working temporarily. Only 26.8% said it was because they were unable to find a permanent role. 29% said they simply didn’t want a permanent job while 37% cited an “other” reason for temporary working. Over 73% of temporary employees are therefore working temporarily for a reason other than an inability to find a permanent position. These figures do not include self-employed contractors. They strongly suggest that workers seeking greater flexibility are largely driving the trend towards temporary working.

Technology is the other crucial factor that is causing temporary working to take off. The advent of apps such as Airbnb, Uber and Amazon Flex are making becoming self-employed easier than ever before. We should welcome these trends towards flexibility. A more flexible workforce makes the UK more attractive as a destination for foreign direct investment. More efficient staffing methods can make UK businesses better able to compete internationally as our trading patterns change post-Brexit.

Businesses will need to rapidly adapt to changing social, technological and economic realities in the coming years. Those that adapt quickly, and use technology to create an efficient and adaptable worker supply chain, are best placed to thrive in 21st century global economy.

Julian Pilling, CEO

This article was published in Lawyer Monthly

Read Solutio’s latest advertorial article published in the July issue of Global Recruiter magazine.

A myriad of software products are flooding the recruitment sector, but do they really help with compliance or business growth? Read more. ……..

Are you Prepared for IR35

IR35 IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR

With the impending introduction of new off- payroll working (IR35) rules due to become statute in April 2020, those engaged in the supply of contingent labour into the private sector are rightly concerned as to how the new legislation will affect their businesses.

Even though the new guidance dictates that the worker will be responsible for determining if IR35 applies to their company, it will be the organisation that pays the worker who will be deemed responsible for calculating and paying the tax and national insurance contributions. Needless to say, these calculations will need to be accurate and submitted on time to avoid penalties, fines and increased scrutiny from HMRC.

As ever, the temporary recruitment sector has a tendency to panic at the prospect of any new rules which force them to analyse the genuine compliance credentials of their respective businesses and it appears to be no different this time around. The reality is that recruiters and umbrellas’ have absolutely nothing to fear providing they can trust their worker and assignment data.

THE PROBLEM WITH SOFTWARE?

And that’s the rub, most can’t. Typically, even the most basic worker profile information is often keyed in incorrectly across a myriad of back-office systems and platforms which cannot ‘talk’ to each other, let alone be simultaneously updated or managed. Increasingly complex assignment contracts and schedules are stored on platforms incompatible with the actual payroll software itself resulting in inevitable errors and the subsequent labour-intensive corrective process.

Despite the tsunamic onslaught of commercial software systems into the business landscape over the past decade or so, very few actually provide a genuine ‘end-to-end’ solution that meets the demands of companies ever eager to streamline their operations. The recruitment industry is absolutely typical of this with numerous platforms flooding the market accompanied by nirvana-like claims of their ability to guarantee total accuracy, full compliance, and vastly improved business efficiency.

This is all well and good providing the marketing gloss of these claims ring true. Disappointingly, the reality is often something different with platforms cobbled together using out-of-date code or components from other providers with whom any given company might have merged or entered into a joint sales agreement. In terms of payroll software, these arrangements rarely work satisfactorily, especially when it comes to the finer nuances of calculating a worker’s pay and deductions accurately based on a bewildering array of individual circumstances.

These include multi-assignments whereby a worker might be working for different clients on the same day even through separate agencies, varying pay arrangements based on either daily or hourly rates, differences in holiday pay provision and statutory payments, plus an almost infinite list of preferred pension providers.

Not one piece of proprietary software in the
recruitment sector has been able to deal with all of these variables until now.

One Simple Supply Chain Solution

INTRODUCING SOLUTION

Developed over the past five years, Solutio is a cutting-edge platform that truly empowers the contingent worker supply chain to trust their data and preserve their compliance status. Solutio synchronises real-time information between the worker, recruiter and umbrella company to ensure complete synchronicity of information and totally accurate payroll computations all calculated in a single instance.

Cloud-based and built using state-of-the-art tech, Solutio seamlessly integrates with your existing CRM via API’s and web hooks to minimises any disruption during installation. Workers self-serve all facets of their assignments via a mobile app compatible with both Android and Apple devices, in addition to having access to a desktop portal if they prefer. Maintaining their personal profiles, uploading timesheets and receiving payslips are three of the headline features of the app, but it can do so much more. Receiving notifications from those in the workers’ supply chain enhance communication between all parties, while storing contracts or schedules give the worker access to all information required to professionally manage their working life.

With all data stored on UK-based servers, clients no longer have to purchase or maintain their own hardware and benefit from enhanced processing power and one-click payroll runs. Solutio is an independent operating system that ensures teams can continue working even when the system is
running payroll. Without wishing to state the obvious, the benefits in terms of labour savings and efficiency are vast.

WANT TO FIND OUT MORE?

To experience the full power of Solutio, please contact Adam Jordan now to arrange an initialconsultation & interactive online demo on 07789 488 909 or email adam.jordan@solutio.com.

Payroll software company announces key hire

Leading payroll software company, Solutio, announces that it has hired Adam Jordan as its new Partnership Director.

Adam has an impressive track record, for over ten years he has worked in a number of senior strategic positions supplying and servicing the recruitment industry. His previous roles include Commercial Director at a leading payments company and Business Development Director at a top five umbrella company where he achieved a growth rate of 500% in 5 years.

Solutio’s CEO, Julian Piling, commented: “We are delighted to announce that Adam will be joining as our new Partnership Director. As a driven business development professional who effectively builds loyalty and long-term relationships with clients, Adam will sustain and enhance our existing business offering, as well as growing our new business pipeline.

Julian continued: “Adam is also an accomplished commercial executive, offering expertise in generating significant company growth through lead generation, client service and sales and marketing techniques.”

Adam commented: “I am thrilled to be joining Solutio as Partnership Director and I look forward to helping them grow and further establish themselves as a visionary brand and leader in the diverse contingent workforce market.

How technology could help detect social care fraud

Social care has become a political hot topic in the wake of ongoing cutbacks to the sector. The UK’s spending on social care is however a remarkable £32 billion per year – a figure close to matching the defence budget. In total, around £22 billion is spent on adult social care, with a further £10 billion being spent on children’s social care. Adult social care alone accounts for 38% of councils’ spending.

Councils assess the needs of an individual, and approve a care plan. An agency or individual contractor is then typically hired to carry out the plan. In the case of domiciliary social care, this will often, for example, involve visiting an elderly person at home once a day to assist them. Someone entitled to care may also request a direct payment, and can then arrange their own care, or might even choose for a friend or relative to be paid to provide the care.

Councils face a significant burden in administering a huge volume of care contracts with such a multiplicity of providers. Much of the administration of these payments is done the old-fashioned way: paper time-sheets are submitted and then payments are processed.

Unfortunately, those in need of care often suffer from conditions such as dementia, which mean that they cannot themselves monitor whether the services they need are being adequately provided. Both care recipients and local authorities must operate largely on trust that carers are carrying out these contracts in full.

Of course, most professional carers will operate to the highest standards. However, in recent years, a number of cases have come before the criminal courts where unscrupulous carers have defrauded those they were meant to be caring for, taking advantage of their vulnerability and confusion. Some carers had dementia sufferers write them cheques, or took cash and others even had themselves named as the beneficiaries on the will of an elderly patient. Such cases provoke understandable public anger. However, less focus has been on how easily carers can defraud the local authorities themselves.

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy releases an annual Fraud and Corruption Tracker survey, which gives a national picture of fraud across UK local authorities. It found that 80,000 cases of fraud totalling £302 million in value were detected in 2017/18. Critically, the survey found that social care fraud was one of the four main types of fraud by volume. The previous year, it had noted that social care fraud was the fastest growing type of fraud.

It is well known that stretched local authorities have little ability to police whether social care contracts are in fact being properly carried out. A recent criminal case revealed how vulnerable this system is to fraud. A couple were convicted of defrauding the Isle of Wight Council of £170,000, falsely claiming care payments without detection over several years.

One of the couple himself worked as a carer. He admitted to a separate fraud in not properly performing care contracts which he himself was being paid to carry out. How much similar fraud is carried out is impossible to say. Local authority insiders familiar with the workings of the system fear it may be widespread.

It is remarkable that billions in taxpayers’ money is spent on such a crucial service with so little oversight. By using the right payroll software for temporary staffing, local authorities could not only make the administration of these contracts much simpler, but they could also detect fraud.

For example, if a carer is being paid for working an implausibly high number of hours – say above 70 hours per week – that could be automatically flagged for investigation. Payments could be cross-referenced with those of other local authorities, as carers may work for more than one authority or agency. Fraudulent invoices and documents could be automatically detected by being cross-referenced with databases. GPS technology could even be used to ensure that carers actually go where they are meant to and spend the correct amount of time with those in need of care. Artificial technology and big data solutions can play a vital role in detecting fraud.

The savings for local authorities would come both in terms of reduced administration costs and increased fraud detection. These savings could more than compensate for the cost of implementing such a system. Most importantly, advanced staffing payroll software helps ensure that vulnerable people get the care they need.

The article was published in Information Age and in Local Gov

CEO Julian Pilling comments in People Management on TUC’s calls to ban zero-hours contracts

The Trades Union Congress has asserted that people on zero-hour contracts are more than twice as likely to work night shifts and are paid a third less an hour than other workers.

After polling 3,287 workers – 300 of them zero-hour staff – it concluded the “exploitative” system should be banned.

Julian Pilling, CEO of Solutio UK, said: “There is no data revealing how many workers actually want out. Headlines are being created, but the government has set out its current position, which is a more balanced view of the zero-hours labour market.”  

Read Julian’s comments in People Management

UK Corporation Tax Explained

Corporation tax is payable by companies and corporations and functions as the company equivalent of income tax for registered companies. It is based on the profits that a business makes and the rate payable is dependent on the profits generated by the business in question over the course of a business year.

Corporation tax in the UK affects almost any company registered in the UK for business (rather than charitable) purposes.

Sometimes frustratingly for business owners and directors, Corporation Tax needs to be paid early and promptly, as opposed to income tax and National Insurance on personal income, which allows a number of months (between April and January) leeway before payments are due. Having effective payroll management software in place will also help with Corporation Tax calculations, keeping track of all the numbers.

However, the tax rates for Corporation Tax, with the right company structure and arrangements, often work out much more preferable than rates of income tax for equivalent amounts.

Registering for Corporation Tax in the UK

You will need to register for corporation tax and it is one of the first key tasks to consider when you are setting up a company in the UK. This must, by law, be completed within a three-month period of trading commencing. The government offers further advice on what constitutes trading or non-trading here. Make sure that you get this done within the given period as there may be fine if you fail to do so.

There are companies who may be able to assist you in setting up and registering a limited company in the UK and should you utilise their services, they will charge you a fee to carry out tasks like this.

Who Pays Corporation Tax?

The rate for Corporation Tax in the UK, as of the 2019/19 tax year is set at 19 per cent for all limited companies. Prior to April 2016, Corporation Tax was tailored to the size of a business’ profits.

In 2015, the government announced the rate would be kept at 19 per cent until 2019 with plans to simply reduce it to 18% by 2020. However, in the 2016 Chancellor’s Budget, there was a further planned reduction which was announced which may see the rate drop to 17 per cent for companies by 2020. 

If a company’s profits had fallen between £300,000 and £1.5 million prior to the 1st of April 2015, the company may be eligible to apply for marginal relief, which means that your corporation tax bill will be reduced by a certain amount. This will be depending on the precise amount of profit you make.

There is a formula for calculating the marginal relief and it is complex. However, thanks to HMRC and their trusty calculator, companies do not have to worry.

When Do You Pay Corporation Tax?

This tends to be one of the major obstacles associated with Corporation Tax. The payment deadline is actually very different from the other major forms of tax in the UK, such as income tax, National Insurance contributions and VAT. You are required to pay corporation tax before you file your company tax return.

You will have to pay your corporation tax within nine months and one day of the end of the accounting period for the previous financial year. Therefore, if like many firms your accounting period concludes on the 31st of March, then you must settle your corporation tax bill by the 1st of January the following year.

However, it gets slightly more confusing if you are in your first year of trading. This will mean that you will actually have two accounting periods to consider. For businesses who have profits which amount to over £1.5 million, the process is also different and they will need to pay their taxes in instalments.

In addition, it is worth bearing in mind that even when your business is making losses, while you will not have to pay any corporation tax, the company will still need to declare that it has nothing to pay and will therefore have to file a return to HMRC. If you are late in paying, you may receive a penalty.

Corporation Tax Relief and Allowances

When a company comes to calculate its profits at the end of the business’ tax year, it is entitled to deduct any costs and expenses which are directly related to running the business before they file any company accounts. You should bear in mind that there are certain costs which are not counted as ‘allowable’ expenses, such as entertaining clients.

How Do You Pay Corporation Tax?

All corporation tax payments must be made electronically, so if you are used to paying taxes and charges by post you will have to find a new way to settle the bill. Ways to pay for corporation tax include:

  • Debit or credit card – you should keep in mind that if you do choose a credit card, there may be a charge attached to that. This sort of payment will take three working days to reach HMRC
  • Bank – If you find that you are more comfortable with a more traditional method, you can still pay via your local branch
  • Direct Debit – for this, you will need to register with HMRC services, then the website will take you through the direct debit process step-by-step
  • Online Banking (faster payments) or CHAPs – if you are in position where you need to get your tax paid quickly, then you could use the faster payment service providing by your online banking provider

5 Ways a Small Business Can Save Money

The global economy is faltering. Small businesses need to be quick to react. The twin engines of global economy – the US and China – are slowing. As the Brexit talks go down to the wire, the UK economy is stalling. Italy has tipped in to recession. Small businesses are often the first to feel the chill winds of an approaching economic winter.

Here are five simple ways you can make your small business more financially resilient:

Go green

Becoming more ecologically conscious can be a great way to cut costs. This could involve switching to LED bulbs, installing a smart heating thermostat, or simply turning down your existing thermostat by a degree or two.

Going paperless doesn’t just save on paper. It also saves businesses on printers, toner, postage, filing cabinets and office space. Ask staff to use email whenever possible. Some still think documents like contracts need to be printed, signed and posted. Yet most contracts can be signed digitally and exchanged electronically.

Switching off servers and computers at the end of the day is a simple way to reduce your carbon footprint. If people keep forgetting, use timers. Make sure monitors and devices are set to their most eco-friendly settings. Motion sensors can ensure lights are only on when needed. When buying electrical equipment, pay attention to the energy rating.

Hire flexibly

Hiring contract and freelance workers can bring a wealth of benefits to businesses. Staff numbers – and skills – can be rapidly tailored match to work flow fluctuations. Offering flexible working conditions can help with staff retention. Remote working can reduce the amount of office space you need.

In an uncertain economic environment, paying freelance and temporary employees can prove a valuable advantage. SMEs can take on temporary staff to complete ambitious contracts, without over-committing financially for the long term.

Think outside your time zone. When completing a project to a tight deadline, a software developer in Delhi can get the job done while you sleep – often for a fraction of the cost of a local developer.

Automate your admin

Payroll software can radically reduce admin costs, facilitate supply chain management and help ensure that companies are both tax compliant and tax efficient. The administrative burden of taking on new staff is reduced: Hiring freelancers is a breeze when you have the right software. The right technology can help your business become more adaptable.

In the age of Alexa, Siri and Cortana, virtual assistants are part of daily life. Voice recognition can mean that typing services are no longer required, as lengthy documents can be drafted by voice.

Your marketing and social media presence can also be automated. Software exists that provides cross-platform integration, analytics, content management and customer targeting. Social media posts can be timed for maximum impact across multiple platforms.

Share office space

Rent is often an SME’s biggest overhead. An increasingly popular solution is using a shared office space. This could involve moving to a co-working environment such as WeWork, Work Life or The Office Group.

Alternatively, businesses can team up with one another to hire an office space that can house multiple companies under one roof. This also means businesses can share costs such as heating, cleaning, printing and reception staff.

Shop around

Reduce your monthly overheads by shopping around for the best deals. While price comparison websites can help reduce utility and insurance costs, don’t forget to look for better quotes from suppliers such as software providers or accountants. A quick email sent to a few competing firms could yield significant savings. Even if you want to stay with your current provider, a better offer from a competitor could produce a fruitful renegotiation.

The costs of banking and finance should not be overlooked. Refinancing loans to lower interest rates can yield substantial savings.

Taking simple steps to reduce costs will help you adhere to that most elemental law of business: earning more than you spend.

Julian Pilling, CEO

This article was published in TechRadar Pro, TekPortal, Tech Investor News and Tech Register

Julian Pilling comments in Business Matters on Hermes’ ground-breaking gig economy pay deal for couriers

Under its new “self-employed plus” status, Hermes workers can opt to receive up to 28 days of paid leave. They can also choose pay rates of at least £8.50 an hour over the year – more than the minimum wage of £7.83 an hour, which rises to £8.21 in April.

However, an employment expert raised questions about the tax implications.

CEO Julian Pilling said: “The deal struck between Hermes and the GMP union is an interesting development, demonstrating that large employers are being strong-armed by Unions. Employers have, at long last, found a much needed alternative ‘hybrid’ employment solution for workers who began working as ‘self employed.’

Read Julian’s comments in Business Matters

Julian Pilling comments in economia on BBC’s admission to forcing staff to become freelancers

The BBC director general has publicly apologised to staff who have been forced to change their employment status, causing them to lose sick pay or maternity leave rights.

During an evidence section with the Public Accounts Committee Lord Tony Hall admitted BBC staff were forced to set themselves up as personal services companies.

CEO Julian Pilling commented:

“It’s a great shame that the BBC presenters in question have been put through this distress and seemingly forced into arrangements that they weren’t comfortable with.

“Nonetheless, a case like this should not overshadow the many benefits that personal service company arrangements can bring to both employees and employers. PSCs are especially valuable to workers balancing a variety of ongoing projects and most accountants would likely advise media workers of this type to work on a self-employed basis.”

Read Julian’s comments in economia