Nearly nine out of 10 independent workers have called for employment rights when working inside IR35, according to research from Qdos Contractor.
Last year’s public sector IR35 reform handed contractors’ clients and agencies responsibility for setting IR35 status. The Chancellor announced in his written Spring Statement that he would launch a consultation on extending the IR35 reform to the private sector in the coming months.
Contractors are worried that, without the power to determine their own IR35 status, they risk being placed inside IR35 by inexperienced engagers in the public sector and made to pay the same level of tax as an employee, but without any of employment rights.
The survey of 1,501 UK freelancers and contractors by Qdos Contractor found 89% would like to be offered employment rights when working inside IR35. Of those who wanted employment rights, 50% would like paid holiday; 23% want pension contributions; 14% expect paid sick leave; 1% want paid maternity / paternity leave; and 12% identified ‘other’ benefits, the majority of which included ‘all of them’.
Qdos Contractor CEO, Seb Maley, said: “In the most part, independent workers want to remain exactly that; independent. However, recent and potential IR35 reform is changing contractors’ attitudes to employment rights. And understandably so.
“Contractors no longer have the power to set their own IR35 status in the public sector, and the chances are, this will soon be the case in the private sector. Despite recent and potential IR35 reform being manageable, the threat of working inside it has and will increase.
“Given contractors working under IR35 are effectively required to pay the same taxes as employees without any rights, independent workers are quite rightly calling for something in return.
“The Government simply cannot expect contractors to accept such fundamental changes to IR35 without offering employment rights. It’s plain to see that currently it doesn’t stack up.”