Unfair IR35 assessment
This is about The Office Of Nuclear Regulation (ONR), It’s important here to note that the ONR is PUBLIC sector, and the off payroll rules have applied for a number of years.
A number of developers have been working at the ONR since the 4th quarter of 2020 on an outside IR35 basis.
In the first week of March 2021 the same developers out of nowhere, received a declaration that they are inside IR35 and that from April they would be forced to work on an inside IR35 basis. No warning, no discussion nothing. It also turns out that the information put into CEST (and CEST only) about working practices was inaccurate and came out as definitively inside (putting doubts on the entire duration of the contract). The process has been blanket for all of us (done individually but just copied for each contractor). When the developers put the correct details into CEST, it did come out as "inconclusive”.
The ONR have no reason what so ever to change their approach at this time. The whole process has been driving by one person (who works inside IR35 – correctly in his case) and has fed back to senior management that this is the correct course of action. No transparency, no clarity, no fairness towards the developers caught up in this. We speculate as to whether this individual was driven by jealousy or ignorance of how the rules apply – specific ignorance about not understanding that the April changes apply to the private sector and that the ONR are already under these rules.
A new developer joined the team at the start of March - after being told the contract would be outside IR35 for the duration. He had a week working before becoming involved in this mess. According to him, he turned down other outside IR35 roles to take up this contract. The politest way of putting it is that he has “strong feelings” about the way he has been treated. The remaining developers are also pretty angry about this.
The ONR have stonewalled any possible way to resolve this and are treating the contractors as disposable despite those of us who have been there for a while having so much knowledge of the project it would delay things by months if we left. We do not feel like we’ve been treated as human beings let alone valued for our knowledge of the system and work provided so far.
As yet, no new financial terms have been offered, and as of March 21st we have no idea how things will work going forward, using existing rates, being offered new rates, which umbrella to use, are we going through PAYE etc…. It also appears that the ONR have been advertising the still occupied developer roles as vacant. Developers have become aware of this, and are either leaving for new roles, or walking out without a new role.