Scandalous, Outrageous and Damaging to Agency Workers

It has long been known that Healthcare Agencies have been more prone to infiltration by the promoters of tax avoidance solutions than any other sectors, but what isn’t clear is why this continues to be allowed unchallenged. The Healthcare sector is supposedly policed by the various Trust Frameworks but most unfortunately don’t appear to know what to look for, or understand what is wrong with what they are looking at.

Whilst we can give credit for recent exposés of tax avoidance by HMRC the pace of progress is simply too slow and the investigations not wide enough. Workers within this sector are being severely harmed by the levels of exposure and it won’t be long until a no win no fee legal firm gets a result from a class action an agency for their failures to protect the workers they engage and put through dodgy umbrella intermediaries using these schemes and being complicit in their behaviour as enablers by taking bribes, incentives or yes that old chestnut “commercial terms”

So why are tax avoiders more effective in this space?

*sheer lack of understanding?

*workers haven’t seen any colleagues getting caught?

*workers don’t care if it is unlawful?

*they don’t read the news?

*health authorities turning a blind eye

*agency greed

*margins too low?

*they don’t believe their agency would let them use an illegal provider?

*poor framework due diligence and lack of expertise?

*enforcement failures by BEIS and HMRC

*nurses and doctors desperate to increase their take home pay?

Probably much of the above list features in this sorry mess.

One of our clients using this particular agency, was stunned by a worker recanting his experience with the agency they had on their own PSL but were only about to start using. What we uncovered we believe is utterly scandalous and what makes this story simply depressing.

A national employment business working in healthcare, with all the sector relevant badges and which regards itself as transformative in the industry! They utilise umbrella services and do have a PSL and provide workers with a list they can use, professing to be the ones they have selected to work with and which no doubt have passed their internal due diligence process. One of the workers through our client decided to challenge this and wanted to use an umbrella he liked, which happened to also be FCSA accredited, but was refused point blank and told to choose from the list as his consultant became slightly annoyed that he had to repeat this.

The worker decided to call from the list and to his surprise everyone was offering him a better take home pay than any of the umbrellas he had previously used and were even willing to out bid each other. The take home pay varied between 80%-84% so the worker signed up with one and felt he’d had a result. This worker was unfamiliar with the do’s and don’ts of tax avoidance I must make clear.

On sharing his experience with the client during a feedback session, the client decided to call us in to investigate and carry out due diligence and what got us the most, was every single one of the umbrella companies on the list was a known pusher of tax avoidance solutions bar non. They didn’t even try to disguise it by having a couple of compliant operators on there. It seemed clear if you don’t select someone on the list you don’t get the job with this agency.

Scandalous! because all those agency workers are all now at risk of underpaying their taxes and incurring penalties because they are desperate for work they can’t afford to turndown and being forced by this national agency to work with tax avoidance providers. Our client was as ever thankful for our findings and removed them from their PSL and therefore able to prevent his contractors from suffering the same fate.

Where is the department of BEIS responsible for EASI https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/employment-agency-standards-inspectorate

Why aren’t they working closer with HMRC and investigating these agencies for being enablers of tax avoidance schemes. There really aren’t any excuses in this day and age, but there are still plenty of similar reports which need acting on. It was the most blatant we’ve seen so openly promoted….Why can’t EASI do their job as they are the Agency Regulations enforcer, oh yes, that’s because the fella that runs BEIS has been a bit busy this summer, he has a more important job pending in the next government as Chancellor!