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Does your Umbrella take responsibility?

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It is easy to see a contractor’s dilemma when looking for an Umbrella Company. There are so many to choose from on the market, and in some cases they seem to pop up overnight. Many questions should be asked before the decision of which one to sign up to is made.

One of these, and ultimately, the most important, is does the umbrella take responsibility for you as an employee?

As seen from previous reports that HMRC are to investigate the compliancy of agencies and umbrellas, it could be all too easy for one to try and pass the buck to the other. This is why it is imperative to a contractor, that they understand the legalities to which their umbrella must adhere to, and have that piece of mind that the one they choose is operating in a fully compliant manner.

There are certain Umbrellas on the market that are taking responsibility in setting the standard for the industry. It is by law, that all UK Umbrella companies should verify their employee's identity and eligibility to work in the UK. The question is however, without personally meeting each and every contractor, how do they ensure this is done?

Historically, relying on agencies to complete the face to face induction with each contractor has been the norm. Umbrella's simply collected copied passports, eligibility documents and proof of address, usually in the form of a utility bill. The trouble with this is how do you truly know the person to whom that passport belongs to is the same person you are paying without verifying each worker in person?

The answer of course is that you cannot. This is why contractors would do well to find an umbrella that has a secure induction process. Recognised as the number one umbrella by Freelance Supermarket, Crystal Umbrella is the only umbrella company in the UK to complete a secure induction process. Co-Director Colin Howell, explains that, "in order to uphold our commitment to contractors as their employer, we arrange to personally visit each contractor on-site at their place of work." As Howell goes on to explain this enables them to witness the signature of the contract, verify identification and it also ensures that there is little administrative burden for the contractor, copying posting and often mislaying important documents.

Not only do these visits ensure compliance but it also allows for onsite health and safety checks to be carried out and confirmed, another requirement that UK umbrella firms should be complying to. This of course is information that both contractors and agencies benefit from whilst working with umbrellas that offer these industry leading services, but why should umbrellas stop there.

Going the extra mile to fulfil their obligations as an employer should mean that your umbrella firm offers more than the norm. One that offers a compliant induction process is perfect, but one that offers this and more is even better, and no doubt one of the main reasons they are at the top of the umbrella table. Those operating through Crystal Umbrella can now take advantage of fully funded, NVQ training to further develop their career progression, a new service brought in to enhance their service benefits and offering and put contractors in good stead for contract and career development.

For further information on this article or Crystal Umbrella, please contact the New Business Team via www.crystalumbrella.com or 0800 848 8104

23rd June 2009

© 2009 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Image: ??? by charles chan *

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