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Contractor Opt Out (UK)

7:04 pm on Jun 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I've been a freelance front end developer for the last 4 years and things have been really good. I'm in a very flexible 12 days per month contract and some months are full on and some can be empty so am always looking for new contacts.

I applied for a contract job through a Recruitment company, it's a 3wk project with the possibility of being extended for longer. I got all the documents to sign and send back yesterday and the contract is meant to start Monday so had really no time to read all the legal stuff.

I've never had work this way and have never been contracted by a recruitment agency out to a web company so it's all new to me.

One form was a Opt Out form known as Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations 2003. After reading all about it and trying to make sense I decided NOT to opt out and told the recruitment agency. To which they have gone mad and basically spent ages on the phone trying to tell me how bad it will be for me if I don't and that they cannot give me the contract if I don't sign the form.

I've struggled to get the real jist of the thing and also have no idea if I've done the right thing.

My circumstances are I've always freelanced, I want to carry on freelancing and not get a permanent position, I can't really do more than the initial contract anyway due to plenty of other work, I'm not really in need of the money BUT it would have been nice to get out there and give it a go, the company I would have been working for are a biggish player.

Now I feel like I have let them all down and that my name will be mud around town.

Did I do the wrong thing? and what are anyone else's experiences of this kind of thing.

Hope someone can help and shed some light on it.
9:04 pm on June 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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had really no time to read all the legal stuff

Well, it's not much use reading it after you've already signed it.
7:12 pm on June 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Lucy, to be honest it's a little rude your comment and of no help whatsoever! I explained I had no time to read it due to me getting it late the day before they wanted it back the next morning (yesterday) so not only to read pages of legal jargon, whilst trying to work and having no time to seek advice from a professional.

In any case I didn't actually sign any form, your automatically opted in and have to sign to opt out which they were trying to force me to do (over the phone so I had no proof off this) and as I wouldn't I have not got the contract.

Please maybe try to comment in a positive way for people, we all need a little guidance at times.
7:26 pm on June 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I must confess I too assumed you had signed the docs.

Anyway, I did find this online which may help
[contractoruk.com ]

specifically the last Q&A.

Hope that helps
8:02 pm on June 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Sorry, thought I'd made it clear that the recruitment agency gave me the form to either stay opted in or opt out which they wanted/tried to force my hand to do.

Some first hand simple advice was 'if you don't understand then don't opt out'

Also, to opt out me and the agency has to complete much more paperwork and take on more risk such as paying you if the client doesn't ect. My one was saying if I don't opt out I will find myself in all sorts of trouble and the tax man might come knocking and I could owe them thousands.....all from 3 was work.

Opting out also means the agency can restrict where you work now and in future, who you work for, put all sorts of covernants on you, force you to extend the contract should their client need you for longer.

I got very scared by all this so refused to do what they were trying to force me to, I also believe they tried all sorts of lies to scare me such as threatening the tax man and IR35 on me!

Just started this thread to see if others had experienced the same or similar?
8:20 pm on June 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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You need to ask a UK accountant who specialises IT contractors ..not a bunch of strangers here or elsewhere on the web, many of whom are not in the UK nor in your position as a contractor ..from what I have read over the years on The Register, being an IT contractor in the UK can be a minefield, and not all agencies can be relied upon to tell you what is in your best interests..

Or ask HMRC..