Terms and Conditions of Employment

Competex Pro

Contract of employment

When you work via Competex Pro, you become an employee of the company and not a director or shareholder, unlike when working through your own limited company (PSC). You will receive your income as salary (plus expenses if applicable) and not as dividend.

Your contract of employment is with Competex Pro and not with the end-client or agency. The terms of your contract of employment are largely in line with the terms of any other contract of employment (e.g. disciplinary, health and safety etc) but with certain differences to take account of the unusual circumstances of employment by Competex Pro as a payroll umbrella company.

When working through Competex Pro, you work under an ‘overarching’ contract of employment, which is worded to provide continuous employment covering multiple assignments for different end-clients at different temporary locations, so that you may claim certain travel and subsistence expenses.

As a matter of good practice you are expected to work on the assignment until the assignment is ended and to complete it to the end-client’s satisfaction. To do otherwise would jeopardise your own reputation.

Identity

We are required to carry out identity and background checks for all employees. If you are not an EU national, you will be required to supply us with certified copies of your visa and work permit.

Professional capability

It is your sole responsibility, and not our responsibility, to verify whether the work proposed under an assignment is suitable for you, and your placement on an assignment will not be based upon any representation made by us in relation to the work involved.

You are not entitled to subcontract any part of the services being provided to the end-client without the agreement of all parties concerned.

Employment agency regulations

If working on an assignment through an agency, we would expect you to give us authority to opt out of the Employment Agency Regulations.

These regulations affect the relationship that you and we have with the agency, and the relationship that the agency has with the end-client. By default both you and Competex Pro are opted in to the regulations, meaning that the agency must pay our fees for the work you do for the end-client regardless of whether they have been paid by the end-client. There is therefore a degree of protection if we are opted in.

However, if we are opted in, the agency becomes involved in laborious compliance work, and for this reason they would normally be reluctant to offer assignments. Therefore it is usual for interims and senior independent professionals to opt out of these regulations.

This is done by signing a declaration before being introduced to the end-client, and you may do this on behalf of Competex Pro. The agency will explain all the various implications in greater detail if required and will assist with the documentation.

Place of work

In legal terms, your ‘permanent place of work’ will be our company offices, although we would not expect you to attend our offices at any time. Your ‘contract site’ will be the location where the end-client has asked for you to provide your services. This arrangement determines the end-client’s premises as a ‘temporary workplace’ and therefore enables travel and subsistence expenses, other than commuting between home and work, to be claimed (see page 17). There may, of course, also be occasions when it is appropriate for you to work from home.

Working hours and rest periods

Because you will always be working away from our offices, you will not have any basic hours of work set by us. You will be responsible for regulating your own working time, and for taking appropriate breaks, as arranged and agreed with your end-client.

Holidays and other absences from work

Because your employment is not one of full time work and involves working flexible hours, we are obliged to pay you holiday pay based on the number of days that you work. Your entitlement will be calculated every time you are paid and will be separately itemised on your payslip.

Because unexpected absence, or absence due to illness, could result in a breach of obligations owed to the end-client, it is important that you notify both Competex Pro and the end-client promptly on any day you are absent, and that you give your best indication as to how long you will be away.

Your end-client would normally require you to complete timesheets for them to approve, before arranging to pay your fee income to Competex Pro. Competex Pro will pay you on a weekly basis, usually no later than three working days after payment is received from the agency or client in respect of any timesheet.

Termination of assignments in the case of non-payment by the agency or end-client

Competex Pro reserves the right to terminate an assignment with immediate effect if the agency or end-client fails to pay an invoice within 14 days of submission.

In such a case you should not provide any further services until the agency or client satisfies us that they will, in future, meet their obligations for payment.

Overarching contracts of employment – an explanation

The key issue is that if your contract of employment with Competex Pro were to relate to only a single assignment, the end-client workplace would automatically become your permanent place of work, and we would then not be permitted to claim travel expenses from the agency or end-client on your behalf.

In principle, HMRC permits travel expenses to be claimed only if you are travelling to and from a temporary place of work. However, as a contractor, you would normally work on different assignments in different locations for a limited duration in each case.

To overcome this issue, your contract of employment is worded to provide continuous employment covering multiple assignments, each carried out with different clients at temporary places of work. This form of contract has become known as an ‘overarching’ contract.

HMRC define a temporary place of work as follows: “A workplace is a temporary workplace if an employee goes there only to perform a task of limited duration or for a temporary purpose. Therefore, even where an employee attends a workplace regularly, it will be a temporary workplace and so not a permanent workplace, if the employee attends for the purpose of performing a task of limited duration or other temporary purpose.”

Expense claims for travel are also subject to the ’24 month rule’, which stops a workplace from being a temporary workplace when an employee attends it in the course of a period of continuous work that lasts, or is likely to last, more than 24 months. For this reason you cannot be paid travel expenses once it becomes evident that an assignment will continue beyond 24 months duration.

Amy FowlerCPL: Terms and Conditions of Employment