Business Development

What are the IR35 tax changes and how do they apply to you?

What are the IR35 tax changes and how do they apply to you? 1800 1200 Growth Partners

The rules around IR35 and off-payroll working are changing, and from 6 April 2021, the new tax changes will come into force for the private sector. In this post, we discuss what’s changing, for who, and what the options are if you think you could be affected.

What are the IR35 tax changes?

From 6 April 2021, all private sector companies employing off-payroll staff – usually referred to as contractors – may have to take them on as an employee. If the employer dictates their terms, they can no longer be treated as contractors – they must, by law, be treated as employees.

Private sector companies receiving the services of a contractor will be responsible for deciding on the workers’ employment status.

The new rules make sure that all workers, who would have been an employee if they were providing their services directly to the client, pay broadly the same tax and National Insurance contributions as employees. These rules are sometimes known as ‘IR35’. The changes are all about making sure you have consistency in how you treat employees.

Who is affected by the IR35 tax changes?

The IR35 tax changes – also known as changes to off-payroll working rules – may affect any company receiving services from a worker who isn’t on their payroll. In most cases, these are companies that work with contractors. It could also be any worker who provides their service to a company through their own limited company or another type of intermediary such as:

  • a partnership
  • a personal service company
  • an individual

The company receiving the service is responsible for determining if the changes apply to them, rather than the worker providing the service.

You can use the employment status for tax tool to help you determine any workers’ employment status.

What are your options?

  1. Do nothing

HMRC published a statement about supporting companies through this change and explained a ‘light touch’ approach to penalties will be taken in the first 12 months, unless there is evidence of deliberate non-compliance.

  1. Take the workers on as staff

Onboard these employees the way you would any new starter and include them in everything you do for your existing staff. This means a contract of employment agreeing pay, auto-enrolment pension, sick leave entitlement and the ability to accrue holiday leave and pay.

  1. Get business support from payroll and pension experts

You can outsource these responsibilities and the compliance that comes with it to a specialist payroll and pensions expert. You can do this just for the contractors or for all your staff.

How we can help

The change is coming, and we can help.

As payroll and pensions experts, we can advise you on your situation and the options available to you. Through our services, we can help process the increase in employees you are likely to have on your payroll and look after all of their needs. This means taking on the HMRC responsibilities – leaving you to focus on growing your business.

Through our SMART Employment model, we can also provide your new employees with the same range of benefits as other employees – making it clear your company is treating the new workers the same.

If your business is affected, contact us for a chat about your options or arrange a free, no-obligation consultation.

5 Point Plan to Drive Employee Engagement

5 Point Plan to Drive Employee Engagement

5 Point Plan to Drive Employee Engagement 2664 1772 Scott Read

Our CEO of Employee Services, Scott Read discusses the real meaning of employee engagement, how it differs to employee benefits and his 5 point plan for success…

Employee engagement is an ever-expanding marketplace and discussion topic within businesses across the world, but what does it really mean, and do we actually make it a priority?

I’ve worked in this industry now for the last eight years and the way in which so many businesses understand employee engagement is so inconsistent and means something different depending on your viewpoint. It’s not surprising, given that there are more than 50 definitions*

The evolution of engagement itself has been a fascinating journey. Early adopters started to add a number of employee benefits to their offerings, trying to differentiate their packages from the crowd, but is this really engagement, or simply business self-preservation?

We’ve all seen the introduction of staff discounts, employee assistance programmes and access to childcare vouchers being applied to thousands of businesses with a view that those employees who benefit from them will be thankful, and it will enhance their job satisfaction.

We now find ourselves in a situation where employee benefits are, or should be, the norm for every employee with 91% of employees believing employers should offer tailored benefits packages** They are accessible, affordable, easily integrated and they do offer value to those employees who have the desire and energy to use them.

I would argue that employee benefits are an essential component to a business operation, as they demonstrate that you care for your employees and that you want to make their lives better, even in just a small way. It may also be a factor that helps you retain an employee, rather than seeing them leave you to join an organisation for the sake of a few pence per hour, or a discounts scheme, or some wellbeing advice.

Employee benefits Vs employee engagement

As employee engagement becomes an even more popular topic, you may want to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Have you made some employee benefits available to your employees, in the belief that this will drive loyalty, appreciation and productivity?
  2. Do you spend thousands of pounds each month/year trying to implement a range of technology, products and services, only to see usage at a really low level?
  3. Are you frustrated that your efforts in encouraging usage are wasted?

If the answer to these questions is ‘yes’, then you are probably more focussed on employee benefits and not employee engagement.

It’s really important that you recognise this distinction, especially if you really want to engage with your colleagues.

So, what is employee engagement?

Employee engagement is a much more difficult and complex project entirely. Genuine employee engagement is a culture, a belief system, a management ethos and it needs to be adopted by every team leader, manager, director, owner and executive within an organisation for it to truly work.

Can you look across your organisation and say that you have nailed employee engagement? I know that I look around our business every day and find a list of things we could do better, should have done better, or differently, and I constantly strive for the perfection I’m looking for.

In reality, I’ll never reach perfection, nor do I want to, because that perfection may also bring complacency. Employees change, their circumstances change, the working environment changes (we should all have seen that since COVID-19 arrived), so we need to be constantly evolving to meet the needs that these changes bring.

Ask yourself when was the last time you really reviewed your engagement strategy; do you even have one?

The creation or review of your own bespoke engagement strategy is essential in helping you stay relevant to your employees, ensuring that they stay loyal and engaged with YOU.

Your 5-point plan to drive employee engagement 

If any of this is striking a chord with you, then hopefully my 5 Point Plan can help you genuinely drive an uplift in employee engagement within your business.

DOWNLOAD: Your 5 Point Plan drive employee engagement

Employee engagement is about honesty. Rose-tinted spectacles won’t help you, but an honest assessment and strategy will. With clear objectives and the right management approach, you can transform your business from a benefits culture to an engagement one.

I believe that every business should make employee engagement a priority, not a chore, and not a box-ticking exercise. With a little focus, direction and strategy, the gains on retention, loyalty, profits and productivity that are often banded about can become a reality, but one thing is for certain… they won’t without a plan!

So, don’t play at engagement, devise a strategy and implement it with the same purpose, drive and energy that you would every other project within your business; the rewards will be more lucrative and long-standing than most short-term new-business campaigns that you run.


Scott Read

Scott is a results-driven business leader with an impressive track record of helping employers strategise key business growth.

To speak to Scott about your employee engagement strategy, call 07368 474 319 or email



Engaging for success: enhancing performance through employee engagement – Research Gate

What’s Next for Digital Benefits Administration in 2019 – HR Technologist

Social Media: It’s time to get connected

Social Media: It’s time to get connected 1500 770 Growth Partners

The easiest way to connect to your network?

One of the most disruptive resources created?

Whatever your opinion is on social media, you cannot deny that its popularity has grown and, whether you like it or not, it’s the way forward for today’s businesses.

Over the years, there has been a big discussion on the benefits of using social media within a business context. It is associated with millennials, with the stereotype that those generations who came before them find it harder to utilise to the best of its ability.

People are constantly on their phones. Be it tweeting, posting photos on Instagram or letting their Facebook friends know that in two hours they are about to board their flight to Greece for a two-week holiday (and they are super excited!).

But how can this be useful to employers?

Surely, it’s just teenagers looking to see who can get the most likes on a photo rather than a corporate resource?

If you think like this, you need to look at your business strategy – and fast. Without utilising social media, you will be massively behind your competition and therefore will not reach your goals as quickly as you would like. It’s been found that 80% of users follow at least one business profile and considering that there are 3.484 million people on social media, this is a potential reach of 2.787 million people that could be seeing your posts!

Still not convinced?

Below are some key reasons why we believe you should embrace social media in your company, to be the top in your sector:

1) Brand awareness is increased

As said before, people are constantly on their phones. If you are posting content regularly, this then means they have a chance of seeing your stuff constantly. This is awesome for brand awareness, as even though they may not actively engage in what you are putting out there, their subconscious will remember seeing your name from somewhere. In conversation, people may mention your brand and with it comes the ‘oh yeah I’ve heard of them, I’ve seen their logo somewhere’ and boom. There you have it. Those audiences who you unintended to reach are now aware of your brand and as we all know – word of mouth is the best kind of marketing.

This doesn’t even consider those people who are already actively engaging. Liking your posts, commenting and sharing will not only increase their engagement and loyalty with the brand, but also give you a team of brand ambassadors. And the best part? They’re free!

2) There’s a human behind the product

The most frustrating thing must be when something doesn’t work, and you can’t speak to someone. The amount of times I have spent scrolling through a website getting more and more frustrated because there just isn’t a phone number, and then when you find one you are on the phone for 30 minutes going through all the automated menus! So, customers have turned to social media. Tweeting companies to sort their problems out – they normally get a reply straight away. By allowing yourself to be involved in this process, your company becomes more humanized and customers can relate to you better. You’re there on the frontline with them and more importantly, you understand their struggles.

3) Generate leads… and therefore increase profits

If the previous two points still haven’t swayed your mind – this one should. If you are a good business manager, you will try anything to increase your lead generation and if this means jumping on the social media band wagon so be it! The best thing about your business getting on social media – is that other businesses are also on there. It’s the best-known secret, connecting and sharing ideas with those who you potentially want to do business with will build your relationship. This will then make it easier for your sales guys and gals to do their job and secure you more leads!

4) Reputation management

Nowadays, if something is a hot topic people will go to social media to discuss it. This includes when things go wrong. Imagine, your company is involved in something that isn’t what you want to be involved in. Twitter blows up, comments/mentions/opinions all over the place and if you’re not on social media? You can’t manage what is said about you. However, if you are online, you could reply to customers queries and put forward your voice on the subject. This means you can ‘firefight’ effectively and avoid your company being in disrepute. Alternatively – if you have some great news you can also join in with your audience by sharing and celebrating it with them!

5) Engagement levels increased

All the above leads into one thing – engagement. With engagement, comes increased sales and improved brand awareness. So effectively it’s a continuous cycle. You post frequently on your socials, you get people to become aware of your brand, your audience engages in your posts through liking/commenting/sharing and you therefore get more people enquiring about your product. It’s as simple as that.

Is your business working too hard?

Is your business working too hard? 1500 770 Growth Partners

Good is fine, sure. It’s safe and nice. Static, unexciting. Great though, ‘great’ is all about mounting potential. Moving on up. In today’s current climate, where reports of the economy going down the pan are as rampant as they are conflicting, it can be difficult for small businesses to find adequate support to reach this higher tier of potential.

“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.”

Or so the old saying goes by the epitome of success, John D. Rockefeller himself

Last year, the number of businesses that survived dropped by 27,000, making it the first year-on-year fall since the year 2000 (BEIS). It’s the prevailing worry of any responsible entrepreneur looking to kickstart a business venture: timing. When’s the best time to capitalise on a good idea, to take the plunge, and with the political climate being in its current shape, it seems the worry is as prevalent as ever.

But taking the plunge doesn’t have to be a gamble. The SMART Employment model, new to the UK, is changing the game for business owners looking to grow. If you’re a small business trying to get ahead, it might sound strange, but now is the time to pause. To take stock and review. Running headfirst into the storm you plan to create is never smart strategy. Especially if you’re carrying last year’s baggage.

As with Rockefeller’s opening line, the leap from ‘good’ to ‘great’ demands that you first work out what’s holding you back. What is your business baggage? What functions take up more time than they’re worth, cost more than they should?

A recent report by Sage revealed that the average small business spends 120 hours a year on admin and 5.6% of staff time wrapped up in back-office tasks. If this rings true for a business like yours, the question to ask is how to cut back on wasted energy and productivity lulls? If you’d be in better shape without the burden of the paperwork-heavy must-dos like Payroll, Pensions, the HR remit tasks, then why hold onto them?

Like to know more about how SMART Employment can grow your business, contact Growth Partners today on 0116 340 3116.

    Contact Form

    40,000+ employees already use our services – we’d love to hear from you.