1. Reduce capacity by stopping working with contractors
The regulatory change brings about the perfect opportunity to reduce your capacity, leading to more effective prioritisation of what needs to be done. In our experience, that’s no bad thing. As with a number of options listed below, this could be an effective short-term strategy which can buy you some time until you are ready to make decisions about an appropriate medium and long-term approach.
Reasons for reducing capacity:
- It removes all IR35 risk
- If digital is not a core part of your business and is more of a supplementary exercise
- It reduces organisational disruption if you employ a small number of contractors.
2. Hire contractors directly putting them onto your payroll
While this option is harder in practice, there are three critical aspects of your business to align to make this route work:
- Your ability to add head-count to your teams
- The budget required to make the offers
- Having contractors open to swapping a low-tax day-rate for a fully-taxed salary.
Of the three, headcount should be the easiest. There’s a strong case to be made for developing your own in-house capabilities and we will be exploring this in more detail in the second part of this blog series. Points B and C are where conversations are most likely to fail. For example a contractor earning £500 per day (fairly typical for a well-skilled individual) will be paying around 20% tax which equates to an income of £110,000 or £88,000 after tax assuming the individual works 220 days in a year. However, to earn £88k post-tax as an employee, the annual salary would need to be close to £150k. Taking national insurance and income tax into account brings the total ‘cost’ to your business to around £175k.
The alternative is that your budget for the role remains static. This requires the contractor to drop their income from £88k to c.£65k, essentially a 25% pay cut.
The reality is that most companies won’t be willing to spend £175k recruiting a contractor and most contractors won’t take a 25% pay cut so the end result will be somewhere between these numbers. Getting to that outcome will not be quick and it’s likely neither party will be too happy with the outcome.
Reasons for hiring contractors directly:
- You retain the knowledge within your business
- No transition is required so this is the least disruptive route
- Using fixed-term contracts can deliver long-term flexibility