Following on from the update to the “Code of Practice” on preventing illegal working released by the Home Office in May this year, All Umbrella Companies Are Equal has been in dialogue with them about the way in which this affects the contracting market.
The original update specified, that as of May 16th 2014, every umbrella company had a responsibility to ensure that employees are legally entitled to work in the UK and that this must be done either in person or via video link with the contractor whilst in receipt of original documentation.
All Umbrella Companies Are Equal received written confirmation from the Home Office as to what is deemed an “acceptable” ID check for every compliant umbrella company.
The Home Office responded as follows:
“Certified copies or any other form of ID have never provided an employer with a statutory excuse against the liability to pay a civil penalty in the event that any worker is found to be working illegally. The only way to gain protection for any employer against civil penalties is by seeing original documentation and either face to face meetings or video link confirmation.”
The Home Office also confirmed that “whilst you are free to use technology to “help” with the document checking, you will still need to see and copy the original in order to comply with the guidance given.”
There has been much debate as to what is deemed as acceptable in the industry, with some companies insisting that there are other ways of verifying ID; this appears not to be the case and any umbrella company not complying with the guidance could now face penalties of £20,000 plus if illegal workers are found to be under their employment.
All Umbrella Companies Are Equal is keen to ensure all of it 35 members are at the forefront of current legislation and industry changes, helping to provide reassurance to any contractors and agencies that choose to work through them.