To protect contractors and freelancers using umbrella companies in the UK, the FCSA has teamed up with SafeRec to provide a free payslip review service. It is free and available to employees of any umbrella company – not just those using an FCSA-accredited umbrella for their payroll. Keep reading for more information.
On 16th May 2023, the Freelancer and Contractor Services Association (FCSA) announced they had teamed up with SafeRec to launch a free umbrella company payslip review initiative for employees of all umbrella companies – not just those using an FCSA-accredited member for their payroll.
The FCSA’s new initiative, powered by software produced by compliance-driven SafeRec, is likely to be welcomed by industry stakeholders with open arms, and not just contractors, freelancers and professionals working in recruitment. The umbrella company marketplace has faced heavy scrutiny over recent months due to high-profile allegations against some of the most established companies in the sector. Most recently, an FCSA-accredited umbrella was accused of salary skimming – the act of unethically retaining more than just the margin – leaving employees out of pocket. Another big story broke when an umbrella was accused of unethically retaining the holiday pay of its employees.
While most umbrella companies pride themselves on compliance and abiding by HMRC’s rules and regulations, the recent cases of non-compliance have raised question marks about the unregulated sector. Therefore, the new payslip initiative launched by the FCSA is a positive way to encourage and promote compliance within the industry. Most importantly, it’s free and easy for contractors and freelancers to use.
How does the payslip review tool work?
To request a review of an umbrella company payslip, you need to complete a short form available here. You are required to enter your name, email address, phone number and upload a payslip. Once reading the small print and acknowledging the disclaimer, the form can be submitted, and the payslip will be shared with the FCSA. The FCSA aim to review and reply within 7 days.
If there are any issues with the uploaded payslip, the FCSA have said they “will reach out to the contractor and liaise with the umbrella company on their behalf. Contractors will also be provided with a report that explains each area of their payslip, for instance tax, National Insurance Contributions, and student loan deductions – ensuring they understand their tax responsibilities.”
The FCSA is “creating a better future for freelancers and contractors”
Chris Bryce, the former CEO at IPSE (The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed) and the current CEO at the FCSA, said the following about the new payslip review tool:
“The launch of the Contractor Payslip Review is part of our wider ambition to support contractors and give them a voice in the industry. We’ve also carried out payslip checking at each assessment, mystery shopping, spot checks, and required RTI checking with no notice from Members, as well as ongoing reviews of random samples throughout the year – all to help ensure compliance in the industry. As a result, we’re creating a better future for freelancers and contractors.”
Who are SafeRec?
SafeRec is a provider of software designed to provide compliance solutions for recruitment agencies. Services provided by SafeRec can assist with umbrella company payslip audits, umbrella company due diligence, Key Information Documents (KID), preferred supplier lists and a dedicated umbrella company watchdog. Having teamed up with the FCSA, the FCSA will use SafeRec’s umbrella company payslip audit software to provide free assistance to contractors and freelancers.
How has the FCSA’s new umbrella payslip initiative been received on LinkedIn?
The reaction to the FCSA’s new payslip initiative, announced via a LinkedIn post, are mixed. One person said:
“This announcement is good news for the industry. I’m sure you agree that anything that makes contractors aware of how to ensure their payslips are correct, is good news?”
Another replied to the announcement by saying:
“Great news! SafeRec is a fantastic tool and perfect to sit alongside FCSA.”
However, another LinkedIn user replied to this message with a different view. They said:
“[SafeRec] is a wonderful tool but it’s hardly sitting alongside FCSA. It’s sitting on a link on a web page unseen by the audience it’s intended for. Hardly heavy hitting partnership. Surely FCSA should be mandating it’s members to have all payslips audited each week. Wouldn’t you agree?”
There were more sceptical comments regarding the FCSA’s new initiative and some people were after further information. One LinkedIn user replied to the FCSA’s post asking:
“So Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA) are you saying all your umbrellas will now be audited weekly by SafeRec?”
We have written a guide to umbrella company payslips
If you are a contractor or freelancer looking for more information about umbrella company payslips, we’ve written a guide that explains all of the deductions that should appear, supported with an example payslip and short video. Please visit Umbrella Company Payslip Example.
Have you used the FCSA’s tool, powered by SafeRec?
If you have used the FCSA’s umbrella company payslip tool, please share your experience with us! Comment below and let us know how the experience was for you and we’ll share your comments with our readers.
Top 10 umbrella companies
To help make your search for a compliant umbrella company easier, we’ve put together a list of our top 10 umbrella companies. They are all accredited by the Freelancer and Contractor Services Association (FCSA) or Professional Passport, and some have special offers at the moment that you won’t want to miss out on!