The Autumn Budget: Wins, Challenges, and Progress for the Outsourcing Sector
For the outsourcing sector, this year's budget brought a mix of victories, ongoing challenges, and signs of progress. We sat down with our Global Public Policy Director Tania Bowers and asked her to give us her key takeaways from the budget.
1. Off-Payroll Set Off: A Financial Boom for Recruiters
One of the standout wins for the outsourcing sector was the Off-Payroll Set Off announced in the Autumn Statement. This strategic move directly benefits recruiters, offering a financial safety net in the event of an HMRC reclassification. The triumph of this initiative underscores the power of prolonged lobbying efforts and demonstrates the sector's ability to influence regulatory decisions in its favour.
2. EU Law Reform and Rolled-Up Holiday Pay: Regulatory Victories
Tania highlights two significant regulatory victories that unfolded over the past year. The first is the business department's EU law reform, a move that promises positive implications for the outsourcing sector. Additionally, the pending legalisation of rolled-up holiday pay for a typical worker adds another layer of financial relief for both employers and employees in this sector. These wins showcase the industry's resilience and adaptability in navigating regulatory changes.
3. Labour Shadow Cabinet Engagement: Educating Politicians on Outsourcing
Entering the second year of intensive engagement with the Labour Shadow Cabinet, Tania acknowledges the ongoing challenge of educating politicians on the nuances of the outsourcing sector. Despite this challenge, there's a silver lining in the form of definite progress. Labour's decision to delay the proposed employment status reform demonstrates a recognition of the complexity of the change and a willingness to engage in detailed consultation.
4. Proposed Employment Status Reform: Complexity Acknowledged
Labour's proposal to reduce employment status to two types—covering employees and workers under one status and the genuinely self-employed under another—reflects a more nuanced understanding of the diverse nature of work relationships. This approach aligns with Tania's efforts to educate politicians about the intricacies of the outsourcing sector, highlighting the need for flexible frameworks that cater to different employment dynamics.
5. Apprenticeship Levy Spend Reform: A Shared Vision
The alignment of both Labour and the Liberal Democrats with Tania's recommendations on apprenticeship levy spend reform is a positive step forward. Labour's proposal to allow up to 50% of levy spend on broader, modular training reflects a commitment to supporting skill development in a rapidly evolving job market. This shared vision bodes well for the outsourcing sector, emphasizing the importance of adaptable training programs.
It's evident that the sector is navigating a dynamic landscape. Wins, challenges, and progress are intertwined, shaping the industry's trajectory. With strategic engagement, continued education efforts, and collaborative policymaking, the outsourcing sector is poised to thrive in an ever-changing regulatory environment.