AND SO, IT CONTINUES…JSA / WORKWELL CAUGHT MAKING FALSE STATEMENTS OVER HOLIDAY PAY

As always, Contractor Voice only discloses what can be factually proven. Now it proves that JSA’s comments in its official quoted statement, published by ContractorUK 21st March 2022, about the allegations made by Contractor Voice of it unlawfully withholding Holiday Pay are incorrect. 

In the statement, JSA said “We refute any suggestion of wrongdoing and, in fact, can show that we are proactive on behalf of our workers in ensuring they receive the holiday pay to which they are entitled. Our systems are highly robust in this regard”.  

It goes on to say, “Where the worker chooses to accrue, both the email communication with each payslip and the payslip itself include an up-to-date balance of paid holiday entitlement and a reminder that paid holiday must be taken in the holiday year to which it relates”. [Our emphasis added] 

To make it worse, it then says, “We do everything we can to encourage workers to take their annual paid leave entitlement and to ensure they do so in the correct way, in line with regulations and policies in place”. 

Missing an opportunity to retract those statements and to come clean on its Holiday Pay policy, JSA repeated them to ComputerWeekly.com for its article published on 23rd March 2022.

Click here to read the emails that JSA sent to the contractor in question with each payslip. Do readers notice anything missing here? Unbelievably, there is no “reminder that paid holiday must be taken in the holiday year to which it relates” on any of the 17 emails! 

Readers will see that JSA have taken the opportunity to mention other matters, including business promotion, but overlooked anything to do with Holiday Pay. JSA, how did you overlook putting the “reminder” on 17 emails, when in your own words you “are proactive on behalf of our workers in ensuring they receive the holiday pay to which they are entitled. Our systems are highly robust in this regard”? Contractor Voice has not seen any evidence at all of being “proactive”, so calls out JSA to produce evidence of it being so.

As further evidence of JSA making false statements, we have also included the JSA welcome email sent to all contractors, the JSA onboarding booklet and employment contract extracts. Clearly, there is nothing “proactive” and no “reminder” in relation to taking Holiday Pay before it is retained by JSA as additional company income. 

On 10th March 2022 Contractor Voice exposed in its article that JSA proactively and unlawfully withheld Holiday Pay and the curiously named and as yet unexplained “Holiday Acc Employment Costs Reserve”  from their contractor employee. JSA has tried to defend itself with incorrect statements given to ContractorUK to publish. Also, after repeating what Contractor Voice exposed, it has made extremely heavy handed and unjustified legal threats against Julia Kermode of IWORK which she bravely made public this week. 

Contractor Voice now calls out JSA to do the only honorable thing. Admit the immoral wrongdoing in relation to withholding Holiday Pay, admit the full historical extent and value of it and to immediately pay the pocketed additional income it was not legally entitled to. 

Turning to the FCSA, what has it and its CEO, Chris Bryce, done? Again, through a ContractorUK article, Mr Bryce states in relation to any continuing “woolly” wording in the FCSA Code concerning paying Holiday Pay, “I’ll make it more clear.”  He says an investigation into the allegations has started which will “conclude by the end of March 2021, at the very earliest”. 

Okay, the “investigation” needs to be concluded (hopefully by wholly independent professionals) before a report will apparently be published, but what about the request from Contractor Voice that JSA’s FCSA membership should not be renewed on 31st March 2022 whilst subject to an investigation that may result in its expulsion?

Contractor Voice now also calls on Mr. Bryce to explain whether he supports the JSA public statements or to confirm that JSA’s statements are incorrect and false.

It’s just over a year since BBC Radio 4’s Money Box program highlighted the exact same practices by an unnamed FCSA umbrella. What happened then?  

  • There was outrage on contractor forums. 
  • The CEO of the FCSA, Phil Pluck (who left after a very short tenure with no reason given) praised the virtues of the FCSA and said he would change the Code of Conduct to close any “loopholes”. 
  • No FCSA members were removed. 
  • The CEO (Phil Pluck) made an impassioned, personal and public plea away from their company website.

So, other than the potential ‘pocketing’ of tens of millions of pounds from contractors, clients and HMRC by umbrellas using this very same practice in the interim, let’s look at what’s happened this time: 

  • There is continuing outrage on contractor forums. 
  • The CEO of the FCSA, Chris Bryce, praises the virtues of the FCSA and said he’ll change the “woolly” Code of Conduct. 
  • No FCSA members have been removed. 
  • The CEO (Chris Bryce) made an impassioned, personal and public plea on an unusual medium away from their company website.

A familiar pattern appears to be emerging! With offending FCSA members apparently exploiting opportunities enabled by their membership club, defending their actions by hiding behind its Code of Conduct as though it is actual law and the CEO’s taking all the flack, Contractor Voice questions whether the FCSA, or its accreditation in general, is fit for purpose? 

The FCSA’s so-called ‘auditing’ must be put under scrutiny. Apparently, no FCSA CEO personally undertakes any audits, but delegates them to one or more of the following companies: JMW Solicitors, BDO; Ernst & Young; Saffery Champness; Brabners and/or Ernst & Young Law. Which of these didn’t spot that Holiday Pay was not going to contractors and ended-up in the top line income? 

After all, would it be considered fraudulent to advise that these companies were the auditors if that were not the case and agencies and contractors relied on the audits when choosing an FCSA Umbrella? Which ones gave JSA and any other offending members the thumbs up to behave in the manner that they have? Again, Mr. Bryce, can you answer this?

Without financial scrutiny, Contractor Voice sees no value to contractors in ‘accreditations’, Codes of Conduct or best practice rules. Agencies and contractors tend to be misinformed and led to believe that they offer protection. The only way to clean up the sector is to remove financial wrongdoing and the huge financial rewards for practicing them.

What about all the employment agencies that have a legal obligation to do their due diligence on the umbrellas they force their contractors to work with? Does mandating the use of the FCSA also make these agencies liable due to the losses incurred by their contractors? 

On the plus side, in a few weeks according to comments given to HR Magazine by Chris Bryce, the FCSA will be launching its new hotline where people can report dubious umbrella practices and “he will name and shame umbrella companies that fall short of best practice compliance policies” and the FCSA will then report them to HMRC. Will he be reporting JSA and any other members for “dubious umbrella practices”? We look forward to your response on this Chris Bryce. 

Contractor Voice will continue to speak up on behalf of our contractor workforce and continue to protect them from businesses who purport to know what’s right for them, but only have their own interests at heart.

3 Responses

  1. Thanks for the update.
    Im having my own problems with JSA since their policy change.
    I made an official complaint about the person on the phone. He advised he would be completing the complaint investigation (I jest not)
    I said I wanted management to investigate.
    I was advised someone would contact me within 4 hours.
    That was 10 days ago.
    On 1 occasion I was 47th in the phone queue.
    Im still yet to hear.

    When logging in there is a constant error message.

    Ive just called and the person I complained about answered the call.
    I declined to discuss any further with him.

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