FCSA responds to Unite’s attack on umbrella employers

(3 minutes to read)


The Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA) has said that it is disappointed with Unite’s latest attack on both the government and umbrella employers.

Unite’s assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail has called for umbrella companies to be outlawed, accusing the government of washing its hands of workers who it believes are ‘experiencing the misery of being paid by an umbrella company’.

FCSA chief executive Julia Kermode has urged the union to educate itself about the benefits workers gain by choosing to work through compliant umbrella companies before taking another swipe at them.

Julia Kermode, commented, “Like Unite, FCSA, as the representative body for umbrella employers, is committed to protecting the workforce from exploitation so I am disappointed to hear Unite’s assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail attacking them with such vitriol as well as the Government who we know are taking numerous steps to clamp down on poor practice.

“Umbrella employers do not exist to exploit workers but to provide a valued service enabling workers to be employed, whilst also having the flexibility of working on a number of short-term assignments for various end-hirers. A compliant umbrella employer provides an invaluable service to the temporary labour market. They employ contractors, ensuring that they are entitled to all 84 statutory benefits and rights of employment, whilst also giving them the freedom to undertake short-term assignments for a variety of end-clients. In short, it is the best of both worlds, all the flexibility of contracting plus all the benefits of employment.

“To clear up the confusion of pay, compliant umbrellas do not deduct employers NICs from their employees’ wages, neither do they deduct their margin from their employees’ wages nor any employers’ pensions contributions. All of these are overhead costs which are taken out of the assignment rates, which is not the same as the employees’ wages.”

She added, “We have long campaigned for umbrella employers and recruitment agencies to work together on ensuring that the correct rate is given to workers, and we fully support the government’s intentions around improving transparency of pay for such workers, as recommended by Matthew Taylor’s independent review of modern employment practices.

“I would welcome the chance to meet up with Ms Cartmail to further dispel some of the myths around umbrella employment. FCSA accredited members adhere to a strict code of compliance and we are committed to ridding the industry of any perceived bad practice as well as promoting umbrella employment as a positive choice for the hirer and the worker.”

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