A recent episode of Rip off Britain got us talking in the office about employment scams. The episode, in particular, involved a scam where a course was sold to a man who wanted to be qualified to take on a position on an off-shore oil rig.
The ‘sellers’ of the course – a ‘recruitment agency’ had in fact over charged by hundreds of pounds and then promptly disappeared by the end of it and were of no help in sourcing work for him.
You can watch the full episode at https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09bctzl/rip-off-britain-2017-live-episode-8#
Like ‘modelling job’ scams, where hopefuls are asked to pay out hundreds of pounds for a portfolio of photographs, only to never get a single modelling job, we recommend you stay away from any sort of job that asks for up-front payments. If these recruiters were sure you’d secure work with them, they’d be the ones paying for your portfolio or essential training.
Beware the ‘recruiters’ too which promise to refund your expenses once they’ve found you a job. What incentive do they have to find you work if it means not only would they need to pay you for the job but also refund your expenses? Think about not only what’s in for you, but also what’s in it for them before you start down a path with any recruiter.
These aren’t the only way in which a recruiter (fake or otherwise) can make money from you to your detriment.
Beware umbrella payment companies
A recent complication in the world of recruitment is the reform of the IR35 regulations. These reforms have seen an upsurge in Umbrella payment companies. There has been much concern in the media about what some of these companies actually do
Some firms were reported to be offering payment via contractor loan schemes and suggesting this would reduce taxable income. However, the government clearly explains how this method of payment can result in penalties, interest and additional taxes.
Umbrella payment companies are not illegal, and not immoral in themselves. However, we often find that people blindly trust an umbrella payment company without questioning some of the deductions they make. While pay rates for temporary staff may tend to be more attractive on the face of it, the take-home pay can often be less than they would expect, and even less than if they were on a PAYE scheme.
For information about off-payroll working rules, the government provides some guidance here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ir35-find-out-if-it-applies
Whilst some Umbrella companies are fully compliant with regulations, many charge workers for their payroll services.
How then is it possible to avoid some of the scammers that are out there in the world of recruitment, temporary work and umbrella companies?
- Stick to well-known and respected well-established recruitment agencies.
- If you use an Umbrella company ensure it is fully compliant and ASK what those deductions are on your payslip.
- If you are offered a course with a job at the end of it, check the ‘recruitment’ company out; if someone offers you something that appears to be too good to be true, chances are it may well be.
There are also schemes called PAYE Umbrella which gives the impression that people are being paid PAYE but actually it’s just a version of an Umbrella scheme being sold under a different name.
Protect yourself by arming yourself with knowledge.
We are always available for help and guidance in your leisure job seeking. Your consultant can answer all your questions about your pay. Not sure if a company is reputable? Then stick with us!