WELCOME TO THE JULY EDITION OF THE STERLING E-NEWSLETTER
Last month you may remember we mentioned that we were working towards some more exciting news. Well we have been successful, and you can read about it below.
Recent legislation changes have been a challenging time for the recruitment and contractor industry as a whole, we are pleased that we have managed to not only remain compliant throughout these changes but also obtain accreditations during this time.
APSCo AFFILIATE MEMBER
We are proud to announce that Sterling have now been approved to be an APSCo affiliate member! We have been working very hard recently to obtain these widely recognised stamps of approval in our industry.
We hope this really demonstrates to you our abilities to provide you with a secure compliant service that you can really put your trust in, as becoming an APSCo affiliate member means that we have had to meet certain criteria. We have had to review all our processes and procedures to ensure our service is fully compliant, and we are pleased to say that it is.
This independent confirmation of our compliance should provide further comfort to you, our contractors.
WHAT EXACTLY IS AN UMBRELLA COMPANY?
You’ve taken the decision to go it alone and become a contractor so the thought of using an umbrella company might seem incompatible with your new career path. However, especially for those new to contracting, choosing the umbrella route offers some real benefits.
An umbrella company is an alternative to setting up your own limited company and it’s estimated that 14% of the UK’s professional contractors manage their business through one of them.
Umbrella companies act as an intermediary between contractors and clients and they are responsible for looking after payment for the work you do. Choosing the umbrella route means you retain the flexibility of contracting without having to worry about the administration and paperwork.
Working with an established umbrella company is a very straightforward process. It normally involves logging hours on timesheets which clients sign off before the umbrella company forward your payments to you. They calculate your tax and national insurance so you don’t need to worry about it.
As well as managing your payments, umbrella companies offer a range of other benefits to contractors. Sterling Umbrella gives continuity of employment regardless of how many different assignments you take on. It enables contractors to claim back business expenses, offers holiday and sick pay, insurance and human resources and health and safety support.
Find out more about the benefits of Sterling Umbrella.
MEET THE TEAM: JENNY BROOKS – CUSTOMER LIAISON ADMINISTRATOR
What do you do at Sterling?
I work on Customer Liaison which means I am the first point of contact for all new accounts. I explain the different routes, give information regarding the services we offer and give support and advice during the joining process right up until the first payment is received.
Being a people person, I get a lot of satisfaction and really enjoy my role.
What is a typical day like?
My first task of the day is to check my emails to see if any contractors have been in touch and need any assistance or require a phone call.
I will then check if I have been allocated any new enquiring contractors to contact. Once I have contacted these I will then work through my allocation of contractors to check on their current status and the various documents outstanding to prevent any delay to completing their account or processing of their first payment. It is a really busy faced paced environment, which I really enjoy.
What’s the best thing about working at Sterling?
I love working in a big friendly team, we support and help each other. I really enjoy speaking to new contractors and take pride in helping people, being on the phone talking to contractors I would say is the best part of my role.
What do you do when you’re not at work?
I love keeping fit at the gym, reading and going out with my friends and family. I also really enjoy gardening.
I am also love being in the fresh air, so make the most of any opportunity to be out in the sun when it shines!
THE IMPORTANCE OF HEALTH & SAFETY
Agency workers now constitute a large and growing segment of the UK workforce, with an estimated 1 million workers in more than 17,000 businesses. Keeping this growing section of the workforce healthy and safe is vital. Our dedicated Health and Safety team are always on hand to offer advice and practical solutions for all Sterling contractors if issues are encountered during work assignments.
By law in every work assignment, all parties have health and safety duties to up hold. Health and safety is the responsibility of us, you, your recruitment agency and the end user of your services.
These duties are defined by criminal statute (the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999) and cannot be passed on from one party to another by contract.
In the vast majority of work assignments, the end user, because they have a much greater knowledge of the hazards involved, will already have an effective health and safety management system to safeguard the health and safety of contractors.
However the extent and responsibilities of each party will depend on the circumstances and the terms of contract but the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have issued guidance on this subject. Therefore, as a contractor, you should expect the following degree of health and safety management when undertaking a work assignment:
All aspects of the work should be clearly identified and communicated.
You should have an understanding of the levels of performance expected.
Risk assessments and Safe Systems of Work (SSoW) must be made available so you can understand the hazards, risks and safety precautions of the work activity.
You should be made aware of how your work assignment will be managed, supervised and monitored.
Relevant health and safety information, instruction and training should be communicated and delivered when applicable.
Involvement in any consultation process where the work you undertake is to be altered.
The essence of the HSE guidance is that all parties work together with the single aim of ensuring that health and safety is properly managed. Therefore if you believe that your health and/or safety is being compromised whilst working on assignment, or you would like practical advice on a particular health and safety issue please contact a member of the Sterling Health and Safety team on 01925 626200 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively for out of hours enquires call our dedicated health and safety advice line on 01925 626237.
In our April eNewsletter we provided you with some key bits of information regarding our expense procedure which covered how you go about claiming and what we require from you and when. If you need to refresh yourself you can view it here.
In this edition we’re reminding you about exactly what you can claim…
Mileage between a temporary workplace and home or lodgings can be claimed on various types of transport including any motor vehicle and bicycle.
Mileage allowance for cars and vans is paid at a higher rate for the first 10,000 miles travelled and at a lower rate above 10,000 miles. This is currently 45p per mile and 25p per mile.
Further transport costs
Expenses for other transport costs to get to and from a temporary workplace, or travel during the working day, can be claimed. These include ferry costs, bus tickets, taxi fares, train and tube tickets, parking costs, plane tickets, toll charges and congestion charges.
Accommodation expenses incurred when working away from a main residence can be claimed. This includes short term accommodation in hotels, B&B’s or lodgings.
When staying away from home overnight for work purposes, the cost of an evening meal and non-alcoholic refreshments can be claimed.
Personal incidental expenses
When working away from home £5 per night is allowable to cover incidental expenses e.g. newspapers, laundry and home telephone calls. If working outside the UK this allowance is £10 per night.
For food and non-alcoholic drink costs consumed within the working day.
1. The 5 hour rate
If away from home, or normal place of work, for at least 5 hours and in that time you have incurred a cost for a meal, a rate of £5 may be claimed per day.
2. The 10 hour rate
If away from home, or normal place of work, for at least 10 hours in any given 24 hours and in that time you have incurred a cost for meals, a rate of £10 may be claimed per day.
Expenses can be claimed for tools purchased as long as the tools are of an industrial nature and are used solely for work.
Protective and safety wear
Expenses related to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as safety boots, safety hats and visibility jackets can be claimed for.
Professional fees and courses
Any courses attended related to a job role may be claimed. The course must be attended during employment with Sterling Umbrella.
Mobile phone calls
Employees are able to claim for calls made from a mobile phone for work purposes. In order to make a claim, itemised business calls should be highlighted and the original bill (not a photocopy) should be sent to Sterling Umbrella. Unfortunately calls made from Pay as You Go mobiles cannot be claimed. The cost of line rental or the handset is not an allowable expense.
Please note: VAT receipts are required for all claims. Further details are available on our Guide to claiming business related expenses.
WHAT EXACTLY IS AN UMBRELLA COMPANY?