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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Kingsbridge partner Zurich pays out on 99% of all claims made

Zurich Claims

One of the questions we get asked most often at Kingsbridge is ‘Do you ever actually pay out on claims?’ The answer is a simple one: ‘We do, regularly’. The follow up question is almost as common: ‘Can you prove it?’

As it happens, we can. We understand why the majority of customers are unsure as to whether their insurance will pay out in the event of a claim. After all, you’ll only really know if the cover is good if you have to use it and we’re sure you’d rather that didn’t happen.

Our main insurance product is underwritten by Zurich. In 2017, as they recently announced, Zurich paid out 99% of all claims made by their policyholders in the UK.

In fact, they paid a total of over £1.7bn in claims in 2017 (almost 195,000 of which were from general insurance products), with 120 of those claims being worth £1m or more.

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News Round-Up: 15th June 2018

Contracting News

Although the decision around Pimlico Plumbers and the rights of gig economy workers is the most important contractor-related story to hit the news in the last few weeks, a few other items have certainly piqued our interest. From digital security breaches that highlight the importance of protecting data you hold to announcements of layoffs at some of the UK’s biggest manufacturers, there’s plenty to get your teeth into. Read on for more.

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Pimlico Plumbers Ruling a Landmark Decision for Gig Workers?

Pimlico Plumbers

Anyone with even a passing interest in the debate around workers’ rights in the gig economy (or truly terrible hair) will have taken note of the outcome of the long-gestating Pimlico Plumbers case that reached an end at the Supreme Court yesterday.

For those of you who need a little catching up, a plumber named Gary Smith won his legal battle for working rights in a ruling that could have significant ramifications for freelancers and the gig economy in general.

Since its emergence, the status of workers in the gig economy has been hotly contested. Despite often working long hours for the same company in roles that would once have been considered full-time employment, workers for the likes of Deliveroo, Uber, and Pimlico Plumbers have long been denied the perks of ‘traditional’ employment – sick pay, holiday allowance, a stable salary and so on.

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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 in the near future, 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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On the Road – Kingsbridge at Chester Races and the Chelsea Flower Show

Kingsbridge

Many a day at Kingsbridge HQ is spent either behind a desk on a computer or (quite literally) out on the road, travelling to and from meetings. It’s all for the greater good of course, but sometimes we do like to step out and experience some of the outside world. Often, as a sign of our gratitude towards them, we like to do this with the partners we work with. The last month was no exception.

In May some of the Kingsbridge team, along with guests, hit the races in Chester and paid a visit to the Chelsea Flower Show. Both events provided an excellent opportunity for us to get to know our partner companies even better, giving both us and them a chance to get out of the office and relax. It also gives us a moment to thank those key decision makers in person.

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New Additions – Shaun Poole

New Additions

The Kingsbridge team is constantly growing. Regular readers of the blog will know that it was only around a year ago that we doubled the size of our HQ to accommodate more team members. Whilst we’re not bursting at the seams again quite yet, it probably won’t be too long before we outgrow our new surroundings too. With that in mind, we thought we’d start giving you a peek behind-the-scenes every now and then, introducing a few of our new additions.

Today we’re saying hello to Shaun Poole. Shaun has been a member of the Customer Service team at Kingsbridge for almost 4 years now, and is about to make the move over to our Business Development team. Known as ‘BD’s’ in and around the office, Shaun and his colleagues build and maintain relationships with a number of our key partners, all of whom are integral to the success of Kingsbridge.

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