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SniperIII
16th May 2005, 18:14
Firstly I would like to introduce who I am, and I make no secret of the fact that I am a director of Maxim Finance Ltd an umbrella company. We have been working with Hays for over two years and only since January this year, have come up against an issue that I would welcome both positive and where appropriate negative views.

It has come to our attention that contractors working with Hays are being told they no longer have a free choice of which umbrella company they are able to use, instead they are being told that they must select a provider on their PSL.

This is causing some angst within the contractor community, As a contractor myself I think that contractors by their very nature take the contracting route as a personal choice and feedback from a number of contractors, is they are not happy to be restrained in this way. The principle objections from contractors appear to be based on cost/value for money and their views on the less than acceptable service levels provided by imposed providers.

Whilst I appreciate some may see this as a way to promote our company, this is not its intended purpose. I have been a member of this community since 2003, and you will notice that I have not posted here in the past.

This post is to garner opinion, to see if this type of behaviour is generally acceptable within the community.
To ask whether this is an appropriate vehicle to discuss this issue.
To see if there is support from others to get this type of practice changed.

rebekkaloos
17th May 2005, 09:29
well I don't work with Hayes but if I was and they were trying to tell me which umbrella company to use, I wouldn't be impressed.

For a start, what makes them think you want to use an umbrella company full-stop? What if you have your own LTD?

ASB
17th May 2005, 09:31
Firstly I have never used hays, an umbrella, or yourself.

But, with my devils advocate hat on....

Surely it is up to Hays to determine the terms on which they do business? This is exacly what you do is it not - set your terms?

You may not like it, but surely you have to live with it.

rebekkaloos
17th May 2005, 09:41
not necessarily
it may be that you are right for this particular point, but generally a company cannot dictate ALL the terms on which they do business - there are rules and regulations for every industry sector.

I would argue that this is the equivalent of a "forced sale of associated product" (whereby it is illegal for, say, a travel company to sell you a holiday on the condition that you purchase their travel insurance with it). It seems to me that this is very similar - although in this case Hays are not selling you anything as such.

John Galt
17th May 2005, 10:02
I think you must have the wrong end of the stick here Beks. Surely Hays aren't saying that you can't use your existing brolly? Just a case of 'we recommend' isn't it - I've ignored loads of those:rolleyes

Ardesco
17th May 2005, 10:11
It has come to our attention that contractors working with Hays are being told they no longer have a free choice of which umbrella company they are able to use, instead they are being told that they must select a provider on their PSL.

That doesn't sound like recommend to me. To be honest i'd tell em to ferk off, plenty more contracts out there without having hays tell me how to run my finances.

* attempt to remove some of the more glaringly obvious typos :)

rooney
17th May 2005, 10:11
Hays can choose who they do business with and PSL's are very common in this and most other industries. Whether the contractor agrees with that is another matter and they may vote with their feet.

freshblue
17th May 2005, 10:12
Prove to Hays that you are not dodgy, can do what you say you can do and that you have genuine cover. A brolly I used was scamming on PI (not saying you do) but that is a major concern to an Agency.

rebekkaloos
17th May 2005, 10:40
Rooney, I don't think a PSL of umbrellas is very common - I have never encountered an agency (and I have worked with a few of them, big and small) that forced me to use an umbrella from a list - they've always been happy to pay whichever company I asked them to pay. So I wouldn't say Hays' attitude is widespread in this industry

ASB
17th May 2005, 10:46
Becs,

Entirely true. It's not black and white. However I don't see it along the lines of sale of associated product, which is in a number of cases illegal.

The reason I don't see it that way is necause it isn't. There is no legislation that I am uware of that would cover this situation, thus you have to live with it. [Whether or not there should be legislation is a different matter though]

Two pieces of legislation may, however, cover some parts of this activity.

The first is the provisions related to unfair contract terms. There might be an arguable case for a potential contractor with Hays here. After all where is the difference in invoicing "brolly A" or "brolly B". However Hays may well be able to provide valid commercial reasons for it.

The second is that it could possibly amount to an illegal restraint of trade under the various aspects of competition legislation.

Ultimately though I would imagine Hays would be reasonably sure of the lawfulness of their actions.

I can understand the OP being highly hacked off, feeling denied the ability to market their services to a portion of their potential market.

rebekkaloos
17th May 2005, 11:08
You're right ASB - I think a contractor would have difficulty proving that it amounts to restraint of trade. Since contractors are not usually bound to their umbrella company for any fixed period of time (I may be wrong there?), Hays can argue that all the contractor needs to do is change umbrella, which can be done instantly and for free.

So to come back to my original comment, I wouldn't be impressed yes, but I wouldn't be able to do much about it! (save voting with my feet as someone said and tru and find another contract somewhere else)

tim123
17th May 2005, 11:56
a PSL of brollies will contain:

"all those that pay us a referral"
end of list

tim

Mordac
17th May 2005, 13:42
It has come to our attention that contractors working with Hays are being told they no longer have a free choice of which umbrella company they are able to use, instead they are being told that they must select a provider on their PSL.

Does that "requirement" extend to Ltd company contractors? It sounds like Hays are pulling a fast one, and relying on the ignorance of contractors to get away with it.
Personally I'd tell them to go feck themselves. I caught Hays spamming me for leads again this morning (second time in a week >: ) so I have slightly less than no time for them.

t0bytoo
17th May 2005, 15:10
Hays 'recommended' 360 group to me. I signed up. They were disgustingly cr*p.

John Galt
17th May 2005, 15:14
Are they the only ones on the PSL then toby :eek

rooney
17th May 2005, 15:37
The vast majority of recruitment agencies have a PSL of umbrella companies. These are the ones they "prefer" to do business with. Historically the agencies will push new contractors to the umbrellas on this list if asked by the contractor. Hays look like they are one of the first to try and "force" contractors to use one on their PSL. Kick backs are probably not involved here as PSL's are normally done at senior management level where there is less reliance on the odd bit of "cashback". Probably the main reasons for getting on the PSL are recognition of good service, adequate insurance provision, track record that they will pay the contractor, automation (to reduce agency costs!) etc... It also potentially stops cowboy operators. It will be interesting to see if Hays are successful.

The main reason the agencies i

weemster
17th May 2005, 16:34
When I started contracting (only about a year now) using an umbrella company didn't really appeal so I went the limited co. route - if I had decided on the umbrella route then a PSL wouldn't P me off too much (easy to say I suppose) as it might improve the quality of such
companies (not saying they need to) but to HAVE to use an umbrella company I think would.:smokin

Cojak
20th May 2005, 12:10
I'm working for Hays at the moment, as a LTD company.

I haven't heard anything about this and no-one has pushed me around for being Ltd...

NoziParker
20th May 2005, 15:06
This is a dangerous trend. What happens if your umbrella needs to challenge the agency for non-payment? If they are already in the pockets of the agency then they are unlikely to do this. That means that agencies have the potential to screw contractors because the umbrella is what the agency has signed a contract with.

Need I remind you that contractors need to join forces and refuse these ridiculous impositions on our lives. We are getting so many mixed messages coming from recruiters and trade bodies. First we're being encouraged to see ourselves as small businesses by the PGC then we're having our businesses dictated to us by agencies.

This has got to stop. Otherwises it's only a matter of time before we're forced to sign contracts at the pre-hire stage when submitting CVs disallowing us from applying for other jobs until a role they've put us forward for has been filled.

Cojak
20th May 2005, 16:05
..easy done - don't use the bluddy things, they're for disguised employees!

jeez....:rolleyes

WageSlave1
20th May 2005, 18:32
Personally, unless really desperate for money, I would reject an agency that dictated my choice of umbrella. For me that would be a pretty big warning signal that the agency was bad news. Their role is to source clients on behalf of the client; not tell me how to organise my own business.
I have never contracted through Hays, but my dealings with them to date have left me less than impressed.


Since contractors are not usually bound to their umbrella company for any fixed period of time (I may be wrong there?)
That's right, Rebecca. The contractor should be free to leave any legit umbrella at any point.


This has got to stop. Otherwise it's only a matter of time before we're forced to sign contracts at the pre-hire stage when submitting CVs disallowing us from applying for other jobs until a role they've put us forward for has been filled.

NP, it's funny you should mention this. Progressive tried to get me to do precisely that! Real IT tried to verbally do the same, although fell short of suggesting a paper contract. Both agencies now have an entry in my 'Agency Hall of Shame' database...bet that will scare them :lol

t0bytoo
24th May 2005, 17:49
Along with recommending 360 group, Hays also suggested Giant. Theire reputation sounds even worse.

I gave up on 360 and signed up with orange genie. They were great. For a while. Then became cr*p too.

Ltd company only for me.

reccon
26th May 2005, 13:40
Just wanted to point my point of view across from the agents side (although not defending anything!).

I can see why Hays would have a PSL of umbrella companies they use. It does make sense. The umbrella company pays you your money. The agency (Hays in this case) wants to make sure they are using a trustworthy umbrella company or they could have problems further down the line. Picture the scene. Contractor works on client sight, choses his own umbrella company, umbrella company fails to make payments to contractor, contractor gets annoyed with not being paid, contractor decides not to work until porblem is resolves, client is unhappy with this, agency gets it in the ear. So from this (and believe me it happens) the agency have manged to annoy there client with this problem even though it is no fault of there own. So by chosing reliable umbrellas they know they wont have this problem

Oh and they probably get referal fees from the umbrella as well!! :)

contractor42
15th February 2011, 11:42
The vast majority of recruitment agencies have a PSL of umbrella companies. These are the ones they "prefer" to do business with. Historically the agencies will push new contractors to the umbrellas on this list if asked by the contractor. Hays look like they are one of the first to try and "force" contractors to use one on their PSL. Kick backs are probably not involved here as PSL's are normally done at senior management level where there is less reliance on the odd bit of "cashback". Probably the main reasons for getting on the PSL are recognition of good service, adequate insurance provision, track record that they will pay the contractor, automation (to reduce agency costs!) etc... It also potentially stops cowboy operators. It will be interesting to see if Hays are successful.

The main reason the agencies i

Hays are mainly doing this to prevent people from using certain firms that employ tax effective structures to maximise take-home pay. Hays' legal team have 'formed an opinion' that any firm using (for example) an offshore trust is automatically breaking the law (patently untrue). They are completely rigid on the PSL list now, and I was actually kicked off my previous payroll provider. The irony is that contractors who are booted off structures that have never been successfully challenged by HMRC will likely move to using a limited company, where they know darn well they are caught by IR35. I really want to give Hays the boot, but I don't feel it's fair to my current client (yet).

PS - I too have been spammed by Hays. They give out your details including your title to outside recruiters who then call you on your (unlisted) work extension.

LisaContractorUmbrella
15th February 2011, 15:04
Hays are mainly doing this to prevent people from using certain firms that employ tax effective structures to maximise take-home pay. Hays' legal team have 'formed an opinion' that any firm using (for example) an offshore trust is automatically breaking the law (patently untrue). They are completely rigid on the PSL list now, and I was actually kicked off my previous payroll provider. The irony is that contractors who are booted off structures that have never been successfully challenged by HMRC will likely move to using a limited company, where they know darn well they are caught by IR35. I really want to give Hays the boot, but I don't feel it's fair to my current client (yet).

PS - I too have been spammed by Hays. They give out your details including your title to outside recruiters who then call you on your (unlisted) work extension.

Well actually, from December last year, anyone resident and working in the UK using an offshore trust is breaking the law

contractor42
15th February 2011, 15:14
Well actually, from December last year, anyone resident and working in the UK using an offshore trust is breaking the law

Ah, no - not really. The new legislation just says you have to pay tax on loans received from 3rd parties (such as EBTs). As ever, the workarounds will continue to evolve until the government come up with a less punitive tax regime for contractors. If you say to a perm staffer "I'll tell you what - I'll take away all of your employee benefits, fix your term of employment and tax you an extra 12% of your wage" - they'd be kinda unhappy.

sal626
15th February 2011, 15:20
I did a short contract for HAYS IT in 2008. Not only did they say that I have to use 1 of 4 umbrellas on their PSL, they didn’t mention that I had the choice of using limited!

I wouldn’t be surprised if HAYS consultants are getting referral fees from the 4 umbrellas…

RichardCranium
15th February 2011, 15:46
I wouldn’t be surprised if HAYS consultants are getting referral fees from the 4 umbrellas…I would be utterly gobsmacked if Hays are not getting referral fees from the 4 umbrellas…

TestMangler
15th February 2011, 16:02
I've been using Hays on and off for 10 years (including current gig) as a Ltd and have never heard of this.

Steven@Parasol
15th February 2011, 16:12
I would be utterly gobsmacked if Hays are not getting referral fees from the 4 umbrellas…

We are on Hays PSL and I can confirm that we do not offer referrals to recruiters at Hays or anywhere else.

PSLs are becoming more and more of a risk mitigation tool as some umbrella companies (such as the example Lisa gave earlier) are leaving recruiters and contractors open to large liabilities for a number of reasons.

For example, if your umbrella company goes under, as far as the end client is concerned, they have paid the recruiter and that's that. The recruiter then transfers these funds to the umbrella to pay the contractor. If that umbrella disappears, the contractor hasn't been paid and the recruiter can be liable to pay twice. There is also all the bad press that comes with this and reputational damage for the recruiter and the end client. The recruiters relationship with the end-client is also damaged so its not worth it for anybody.

If the PSL has been put together based on the financial strength of umbrella companies, their business models (pay when paid instead of offering terms for example), compliance, industry codes of conduct and independent audits etc, then the recruiter is doing its best to protect themselves, the client and the contractor from some of these risks.

Also moving forward, once the Bribery Act comes into play, recomending umbrellas based on referrals could leave individuals and companies open to prosecution so this is another risk to add to the list. There are very recent examples of some of the leading recruiters now refusing to work with umbrella companies because they have offered a referral scheme.

I'm not suggesting that this sort of thing still doesn't go on, but it is a practice that is becoming more of a risk to everyone involved so the big players such as Hays will react.

sal626
15th February 2011, 16:21
Steven, my gripe is not that Hays have a PSL, but the fact that the particular consultant I was dealing with, neglected to mention that I also have the option of using a limited.

It was more like; “choose one of these four…by the way…companyABC are quite good”….and no, its wasn't Parasol.

Steven@Parasol
15th February 2011, 16:25
Steven, my gripe is not that Hays have a PSL, but the fact that the particular consultant I was dealing with, neglected to mention that I also have the option of using a limited.

It was more like; “choose one of these four…by the way…companyABC are quite good”….and no, its wasn't Parasol.

Thanks Sal, completely understood your gripe, was chipping in from a PSL/referals perspective.

Wanderer
15th February 2011, 16:36
Steven, my gripe is not that Hays have a PSL, but the fact that the particular consultant I was dealing with, neglected to mention that I also have the option of using a limited.

To be fair, the consultant is probably presuming that the contractors know what their options are and they aren't in the business of advising people about tax avoidance or trading structures. If you have to ask, then they'll just recommend the contractor goes umbrella - an easy life for all concerned.

sal626
15th February 2011, 16:56
To be fair, the consultant is probably presuming that the contractors know what their options are and they aren't in the business of advising people about tax avoidance or trading structures. If you have to ask, then they'll just recommend the contractor goes umbrella - an easy life for all concerned.

Fair point, but I hadn’t even asked…it was literally, “congrats you got the role. Starting date, blah blah, …You have to use one of 4 umbrellas, blah blah.”

In hindsight, totally my mistake for not asking about limited…but the way the consultant made it sound, it was basically the umbrella way or the highway.

Live and Learn I guess…

curtis
16th February 2011, 09:13
I had Hays ring me only a few months ago, told me about a role then asked 'what umbrella do I use?'

When I told him I then got told 'ahh that may be an problem as we have preferred umbrellas we like to use' then proceeded to tell me how so many umbrellas have gone out of business and the ones they use have been checked.

The job he was ringing about was not suitable anyhow but the call was ended by him saying that any future business may be difficult given I use a different umbrella.

To be honest unless I really really had to I would not use Hays anyhow as I have heard such bad things about them, more bad than good. One question though is 'Hays' the same as 'HaysIT'?

sal626
16th February 2011, 09:44
When I say “Hays IT”, I actually mean the IT department of Hays…i.e. I worked for Hays company itself.

But I think Hays also brand the department that deals IT jobs as “Hays IT”…in which case, it is the same company…

Sander Koop
4th June 2013, 14:13
I work through Hays, and my current "Umbrella" has been removed from their PSL - forcing me to change to a new one.

Does anybody know which Umbrella's ARE acceptable?

I find it offensive that Hays have the right to tell me which payment solution to use, but since I do want to stay in my current contract, I have to bow to their demands... :ladybags:

Nathan SJD Accountancy
4th June 2013, 14:34
Ask Hays to provide you with a list to choose from.

LisaContractorUmbrella
4th June 2013, 14:52
I work through Hays, and my current "Umbrella" has been removed from their PSL - forcing me to change to a new one.

Does anybody know which Umbrella's ARE acceptable?

I find it offensive that Hays have the right to tell me which payment solution to use, but since I do want to stay in my current contract, I have to bow to their demands... :ladybags:

Purely out of curiosity, which company was that? Are you asking which umbrella companies are acceptable or which companies Hays thinks are acceptable?

northernladuk
4th June 2013, 14:55
Man up, sack the brolly and do it properly. If you are going to hide behind easy solutions you have to expect this kind of thing.

The more layers in your situation the more chance of extra hassle.

TheFaQQer
4th June 2013, 15:19
I work through Hays, and my current "Umbrella" has been removed from their PSL - forcing me to change to a new one.

Does anybody know which Umbrella's ARE acceptable?

Are you saying that Hays are making you change your umbrella, but won't tell you who you can use instead?? :confused: