HMRC has published a document in response to the Matthew Taylor Report on Modern Working Practices. The document’s title is Responses to Consultation on Recommendations for Agency Workers.

The Government commissioned Taylor’s report in 2017. Its aim was to investigate the UK’s modern working conditions, which were changing due to the rise of companies such as Uber and zero-hour contracts. The report considered how business practices and legislation might adjust to meet the needs of modern ways of working. It made some recommendations for individuals who worked via an agency.

In February 2018, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy summed up its own consultation of the report by saying: “We need to ensure that we strike the right balance between maintaining flexibility in the labour market…whilst equally ensuring that in a changing work environment, workers are afforded the necessary rights and protections and have access to the information they require.”

More than 50 advisory bodies, agencies and other intermediaries gave responses to the consultation. Individuals gave an additional 35 responses.

Some people used their responses to express concerns about the off-payroll rules. Since the introduction of new IR35 rules for the public sector in April 2017, umbrella companies have increased in popularity. Many clients force their off-payroll workers to operate via an umbrella company to avoid liability concerning these workers’ employment status. However, numerous contractors have found that operating in this way creates problems.

In addition, not all umbrella companies are compliant with IR35 rules, and some offer contrived schemes aimed at increasing take-home pay, which makes it difficult for contractors to work out how much their pay will be.