Did you spend your Wednesday evening this week watching Parliament? To be honest, it’s not a regular occurrence for me (really, it’s not). But I just had to watch the proposed amendments to the Finance Bill specific to IR35 being discussed and hopefully voted on. It was actually quite incredible to see the thoughtful arguments made and yet the one amendment that was voted on – for a delay, received a resounding “No”.

So what now?

Now we (organisations, intermediaries and contractors) have an opportunity to plan, receive good quality advice and begin to work through a strategy. This should fit alongside the work already being done for returning to work, the end of furlough, redundancies potentially and the new employment needs of organisations post lockdown.

From a contractor perspective, a recent poll we’ve been running for the last week on Linkedin shows that their least desirable roll is “Inside IR35”. This is out of a choice including “Outside IR35”, “Permanent”, and “Fixed Term Contract”. Image shows with 1 day to go – click the link to see the latest/final result.

It’s unsurprising really. Inside IR35 from a contractor perspective is effectively zero rights employment. All of the tax and none of the benefits. As a past contractor of 19 years, I know that if this was offered (particularly in a blanket scenario), a contractor may take it, but I’d be wary that this would due to the current climate, rather than a deep desire for the role.

Instead, assuming an organisation wants the best person for the role so they can better guarantee business outcomes, the preferred option is a true outside of IR35 contract. This needs to be evidenced within the contract and working practices. If this is not possible and the longer term strategy for the organisation is not contract roles, the permanent and Fixed Term Contracts should be investigated.

The challenge over the next 6-12 months will be how you find those superstars who are perfect for your roles within the increasing volume of people who have unfortunately been left without a job because of Covid-19. Applications through job boards are increasing as unemployment rises. People say is an employers market, but it may not feel like that as the market becomes flooded with candidates. In these scenarios important priorities such as diversity and an equitable process can often go out of the window as candidates stream in and there’s pressure to fill roles.

Of course, whether it’s through our platform or other sources, referrals will become an even more valuable source of hire, regardless of contract terms. Ensuring an equitable process and reaching diverse candidates may be less of a priority as the hiring process is stretched. So working with those who consider diversity as standard rather than a special request would, IMHO be a jolly good idea.

If you’re interested in a round up of IR35 news, sign up to my own personal newsletter that comes out every Saturday – https://ir35weekly.uk. It simply consolidates the news from the week and shares the best articles, interviews and events. For more information on how we can help with IR35, why not get in touch or book a slot.

Juliet Eccleston