005: What is an “umbrella” and how do I know it is compliant?

Many recruitment agencies require their temporary and contract workers to be paid via an umbrella firm, but what actually is “umbrella”?  We talk to Rob Crossland who founded one of the UK’s first ever umbrella companies, which continues to be one of the largest and most successful umbrellas in the UK today.  Rob used to be an IT contractor, and in the late 1990’s he was increasingly frustrated with how his pay was being dealt with so he seized the opportunity to use technology to do it better.  In a classic entrepreneurial move he then went about marketing his idea to others in the same situation, and very successfully grew his business from there.

In this episode we talk about what actually is an umbrella (an employer of temps and contractors), how the umbrella model works and what benefits they provide.  The umbrella sector has evolved over the years, and it is important to understand the basics of how a compliant umbrella operates.  We also discuss the important role of recruitment agencies in having a preferred supplier list of vetted umbrellas that they work with.

In our next episode we talk to a specialist tax advisor about how to spot dubious tax avoidance schemes which masquerade as umbrella firms – more essential listening for all agency workers!

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