IR35 reform: are contractors worried about the change?

With just two months to go until the private sector IR35 reforms come into force, it’s understandable that many of the contractors we work with are feeling apprehensive about the changes. 

When it comes to extending contracts, a key concern shared among contractors is that their pay will change in the event an ‘inside’ assessment is made. They’ll receive less money, yet still won’t benefit from typical employee perks – like holiday, sick pay, etc. 

There are also concerns about companies adopting a blanket IR35 approach, the impact the reform will have on the market, and making correct IR35 assessments. So, how is Talent helping to ease these concerns?

We see it as our duty to help contractors – and indeed clients – navigate the upcoming changes by providing tailored, one-to-one support. Ultimately, the more information and guidance we offer, the more informed and therefore prepared contractors and clients will be come April.


Learning from public sector reforms 

Thinking back to the lead up to the public sector reforms in 2017, things were uncertain back then too. There were similar concerns around pay cuts and the potential impact to the market, but a couple of months after the changes were implemented everything settled down. This, at the very least, should provide us all with some reassurance.

Yes, there may be an influx of permanent roles. Yes, we may see many of the big companies adopt blanket approaches. The one thing we know for certain is that the reform is happening; the more prepared we all are, the smoother the transition will be.


An extra level of support 

Sometimes, important conversations can be missed – it’s Talent’s role to make sure that doesn’t happen. For instance, many of the people we’ve been working with didn’t realise that statuses need to be confirmed by this month. 

While we help educate contractors and clients on HMRC’s CEST status tool, our support extends to much more than this. We also provide Health Check audits to clients, where we assess their current situation, find out what’s working well for them, and look at how the reform can in fact work to their advantage.

We’re also working with Qdos to provide what is essentially a second, more thorough status tool, comprising a questionnaire for contractors to complete once they begin a contract. Their responses are sent to an IR35 expert within Talent, who assesses and reinforces their status to ensure that it’s correct. 

This deeper level of assessment reassures the client and at the same time, instils confidence in contractors that their role is correctly defined. This is especially important given that the nature of a role may change once work begins, and it’s possible they may switch from inside to outside – or vice versa. 


Adapting, together 

Contractors are contacting us with concerns, and we’re supporting them in any way we can. We want to provide the very best service – after all, our mission is to break from the pack and be a recruiter that doesn’t just fill roles, but consults on key topics affecting the industries we serve. And at the moment, there is no bigger topic than IR35.