GDPR for contractors and freelancers: have you missed anything?

GDPR

We’ve updated our privacy policy.

Before you chuck your laptop or tablet across the room, don’t worry – we’re just kidding. Well, we have updated it, but that’s not what this blog is about.

We’re not telling you what you need to do if you want us to be able to stay in touch, but rather making sure you know how, as a contractor or freelancer, GDPR might have affected you and how it could affect your business if you don’t take action.

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TSB: a lesson for contractors

TSB

With the fallout still rumbling on from the complete failure that was the introduction of TSB’s new IT system in April, it really does highlight just how badly things can go wrong – particularly for IT contractors working with big companies.

Mistakes can’t be just “dealt with” without anyone noticing and there’s the potential to cause massive disruption to a lot of people. Also worthy of note here is the recent fiasco at Northern Rail: when things go wrong they go spectacularly and publicly wrong.

So, what can contractors, particularly IT contractors, learn from these massive, disruptive and very, very public debacles? Here are a few lessons that could be learnt.

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How to be a more environmentally conscious contractor or freelancer

Environmentally Conscious

Whether it’s banning baby wipes, putting a tax on plastic bottles or Iceland removing plastic packaging and palm oil from their own brand ranges, it seems everyone is thinking more and more about the environment at the moment. And quite rightly too. We should all be doing our bit to clean up the planet and start reversing the damage humans have done over the centuries.

When you’re an employee, it’s quite easy. Most businesses have environmental policies that ensure all workers help keep the office green. But when you’re a contractor or freelancer, it’s up to you and you alone to do your bit when you’re not in a client’s workspace.

So how can you easily make sure you’re being more environmentally conscious? Here are our top tips.

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Missing something? Protect your pocket with our IR35 cover

IR35

We’re a bit like a nagging parent at Kingsbridge when it comes to IR35. Do your laces up. Eat your vegetables. Make sure you’ve got the right cover in place for you and your business.

But like a nagging parent, we only do it because we care. In recent years we’ve seen more and more drawn-out legal battles contesting IR35 decisions, and the outcomes are generally less than desirable. Whether it’s the fine itself, or simply the spectre of having to defend yourself against the government, finding yourself in an IR35 investigation can be stressful, costly, and time-consuming.

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IR35 Trouble? We’ve got the cover for you

IR35

Regular readers of this blog will know that we’ve covered IR35 fairly extensively in the recent past. Whether we’re talking about the ins and outs of what it actually is or highlighting examples of contractors who’ve fallen foul of the legislation, we like to think of it as a subject we know well.

But there’s only so much talking we can do. Sometimes action has to be taken. That’s why we’ve recently introduced our Legal Expenses Plus policy, our cover designed to help you should you find yourself in the midst of an IR35 investigation.

An IR35 investigation is not something any contractor wants on their plate. Regardless of whether you’re found to be inside IR35 or not, it’s time consuming, stressful, and a likely drain on finances given the amount of effort you’ll have to put into defending yourself.

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IR35 IRL – How much will getting caught cost you?

IR35

There was a time when IR35 was something of a bogeyman to contractors. Tall tales and horror stories. Lurking in the shadows. A looming spectre, but never quite tangible enough to make you feel its presence. Those days are over. Gone are the 1 in 60,000 odds of being caught.

In the last 18 months or so HMRC has ramped up its campaign to catch contractors working as disguised employees and therefore inside IR35. Need more proof? We’ve rounded up a few of the more prominent cases below.

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Everything a Contractor Needs to Know About IR35

IR35

IR35. Two letters. Two numbers. It might not seem like much, but it should be at the forefront of any contractor’s thoughts. Not understanding the implications of IR35 could be the difference between a trouble-free working existence and a huge, potentially business-ending, fine.

If you work in the public sector there’s a good chance you’ve already felt the sting of the recent reforms which have left independent workers at the likes of the NHS and BBC up in arms at their treatment.

Unfortunately, there’s a very good chance that the same reforms will roll out to the private sector by April 2020 at the latest, after an upcoming consultation due to be released this year. Given how prevalent the legislation is likely to become, it’s important that contractors make sure they know as much as possible.

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Top tips for organising your home office

Home Office Tips

As a contractor or freelancer – particularly if you’re a freelancer – you’ll spend a fair amount of time working from your home office. This will vary from person to person, of course, but most people have either a room or a section of a room in their house that they dedicate to work.

It’s not like working in an office where people will tell you where things get filed or how your space should look. Instead, it’s up to you. At Kingsbridge, we’ve picked up lots of tips from our self-employed clients over the years so we thought we’d share a few of our favourites in this blog.

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To pet or not to pet? Should I get a furry freelancer companion?

Pets in the Workplace

Freelancing is wonderful, it really is. You work on the jobs you want to work on, get paid the rate you want to be paid and work the hours you want to work. However, there is one great big downside that nearly all freelancers mention when asked: it’s lonely.

It’s why, if you go into any given coffee shop during the average working day you’ll see freelancers tapping away on their laptops, just to be around other people. Of course, there are other ways to ease solitude without spending £10 a day on flat whites and toasties. The most popular option? Get a pet.

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How could the TSB chaos have affected contractors and freelancers?

TSB Crisis

Spoiler alert: the answer is “significantly”.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave on Mars for the last week-and-a-bit, you can’t have failed to hear about the ongoing chaos at TSB as they attempted to migrate customer records from their old Lloyds TSB system to their new one.

If you’re not a TSB customer or an IT contractor, you may well have only given the story a fleeting glance. If so, you can bring yourself up to speed with the BBC’s timeline of events. Otherwise, all you really need to know is that all did not go as planned. There have been numerous problems including customers not having access to their accounts online, over the phone or in-branch, payments in and out of accounts not going through, and people being able to access accounts that were not their own.

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