The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) has published its public policy roadmap, outlining the critical needs from Government and policy makers for 2021 to build a professional labour market fit for the future, including:
- The continuation of economic support to drive Covid-19 recovery: The support provided by HM Treasury to-date should remain dynamic and only be withdrawn in a carefully planned and structured way to prevent businesses, employees and contractors from facing a cliff-edge scenario.
- Clarity surrounding the post-transition economy: This includes ensuring the UK is recognised as data adequate by the EU to prevent additional red tape and administration costs for businesses with EU and UK operations. APSCo is also calling on the Government to provide clear and detailed guidance on the EU-UK Trade Deal as it effects the service industries.
- A focus on skills and access to talent: APSCo will continue to lobby Government on reforms to the Apprenticeship Levy to enable staffing companies to use their levy pots to fund the professional development of agency workers and independent contractors via Portable Apprenticeships. APSCo has also highlighted that the Government must introduce a new entry route in the points-based immigration system to allow high value independent professionals to work in the UK on a project-by-project basis.
- The enablement of quality and productive self-employment: The trade body has warned that policy makers need to take steps to promote positive self-employment to enable access to a flexible agile and independent professional workforce. This includes a review of tax and employment status, accompanied by a new definition of the self-employed and a review of the impact of the Off-Payroll rollout to ensure appropriate policy amends are made after 6th April 2021.
- Appropriate recruitment regulation: APSCo has welcomed the introduction of the Single Enforcement Body (SEB) within BEIS but has highlighted that the Body should be driving better collaboration with HMRC to regulate umbrella companies. According to the trade body, SEB should also promote strong supply chains with worker protection and a fair apportionment of regulatory burden and contractual risk.
Tania Bowers, General Counsel and Head of Public Policy at APSCo commented:
“We’re at a critical point now where a way out of the current economic crisis is in development, but it is crucial that the Government and policy makers take the appropriate action to support the individual needs of each sector in the UK. For the recruitment profession, 2021 will see a lot of hurdles, with the post-transition impact on talent and international hiring markets and the rollout of Off-Payroll in the private sector creating challenges that could impede critical business growth.
“APSCo continues to represent the recruitment sector in influencing policy decisions and this document has been produced to help government steer through the difficult economic times ahead by boosting the recruitment sector, improving regulation of the professional services supply chain and supporting the Government with its Plan for Jobs.”
“There are some important “asks” resulting from the EU-UK trade deal including clarifying the route to work for independent professionals into EEA countries and introducing a new work permit route in the UK for short term professional services. However, our broader themes remain focused on developing an outcome – based suite of regulation creating a healthy environment for a dynamic flexible labour market and the supply chains supporting it.”