HMRC launches new employment status unit


Companies have been urged to review their agency supplier’s practices to ensure individuals are not being misclassified as self-employed.

The warning comes from employment lawyers after it emerged HM Revenues & Customs is launching a specialist unit to investigate firms suspected of withholding employment protection from workers, by using agency staff or calling them self-employed.

More and more high profile businesses have been in the spotlight over the past few months including Sports Direct which now could face up to a 2 million pound fine.

Employment agencies The Best Connection & Transline were recently questioned by politicians during the joint pensions and business select committees' inquiry into working practices at Sport's Direct's Shirebrook warehouse, which contracts a large number of staff from the companies.

The report into employment practices at sports direct has recently been released by the Government and highlights evidence of the recruitment firms providing their temporary workers with poor terms and conditions, and paying them rates of pay which at times have fallen below the minimum wage rate. The report which is available to view free online can be found at

More recently, Uber drivers have won the right to be classed as workers rather than self-employed. The ruling by a London employment tribunal means drivers for the ride-hailing app will be entitled to holiday pay, paid rest breaks and the national minimum wage.

As these cases have shown, employment status is complex and it is very important that all employers learn from these cases and consider how they engage their workforce.

Jason Connon, Managing Director of Cushillo Personnel commented  “I’ve long been concerned about unethical practices amongst some recruitment firms and their outsourced payroll providers – by which many agency workers are typically paid. There have been a number of investigations into agency payroll providers over the years with disreputable working practices exposed in programmes such as Panorama.

It is wrong for any recruitment businesses to structure their contracts, deliberately or otherwise, such that the workforce earn below the NLW. I would encourage any firm employing temporary staff via recruitment agencies to immediately review their pay and bonus arrangements and make changes to ensure that their temporary workforce receives at least the national minimum wage, whether or not they are legally obliged to do so.

Cushillo Personnel has always believed passionately in providing professional and ethical recruitment services. We always ensure all our temporary workers receive full payments including holiday pay, sickness pay and all other statutory benefits.

Your company brand and reputation surely is of the most importance and by working with a professional company such as Cushillo Personnel, who treat all their temporary workers fairly & ethically, we can help protect your company brand and image”. 

If you require any further information or you would like to discuss how working with our company can help raise recruitment standards within your company, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01384 226063 or em

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