A contractor has started an official petition to allow workers to have the right to choose their own umbrella.
Here at IWORK, we’ve been banging this drum for ages now as preferred supplier lists are not usually in workers best interests, and in our opinion they don’t actually offer much real choice to the person most affected by the decision.
It is well known within the contracting industry that bribery and obscene financial incentives underpinning PSLs are rife. Some argue that this is driven by umbrellas aggressively seeking commercial advantage over their competitors, and others state that recruitment agencies demand huge sums of money from umbrellas in order to appear on their PSLs. In any case, the worst cases of poor practice are certainly nothing to do with compliance or supporting contractors to make an informed decision.
Interestingly the Bribery Act has just recently been used to bring about a successful prosecution against corrupt procurement, not too dissimilar to what goes on behind some umbrella PSLs. Some companies involved in the supply chain of contractors should be getting very worried as more cases will inevitably follow.
We wholly support the petition to give contractors a real choice over their umbrella. There are plenty of arguments against not having PSLs, many of which we discuss on our recent podcast, and you only have to look at the Loan Charge to understand what can happen when it goes wrong. However, given that Key Information Documents are a legal requirement, why can’t we trust contractors to read them and make their own informed decision about their chosen umbrella?
In no other sector is it acceptable for people to have no option regarding their employer.