Challenges for Self-Employed Construction Workers
25th February 2016
Putting Your House in Order
Whatever kind of work they do, pretty much everyone dreams of being their own boss sometimes. Whether that means building an empire, or just putting one brick on top of another, it's about independence and freedom.
Right now in construction, we've got close to 100,000 self-employed workers. With almost 40,000 of those appearing in the last year, the government's actually kind of worried about it. In fact, they've been clamping down on certain kinds of self-employment with new rules and regulations.
False Self Employment
What they're mostly bothered about is what they call "false self-employment". Basically, some firms were working a tax dodge by treating their employees as subcontractors when they really weren't. It was bad for HMRC, and worse for the workers. As well as ducking taxes, some of these "intermediaries" were avoiding responsibilities like employment rights and holiday pay.
The government's been cracking down on false self-employment in construction, but honestly they're flailing around a bit about it. That's lead to a bit of confusion.
Self Assessment Tax Returns
There's good and bad about self-employment, obviously. You get some freedom and flexibility you might not otherwise have, that's true. You've also got a load of new responsibilities, too. You need to file your own Self Assessment tax returns, for one thing. Also, you can say goodbye to job security, sick pay and your workplace pension. It's a swings-and-roundabouts thing.
Another consideration is that working for yourself can easily turn into working for nobody. There's always competition out there, and you really need to promote yourself to get work. You can't count on clients to magically trust you - or even to know you exist!
Along with the challenge, though, there's always opportunity. Experts are warning the construction industry's facing a "skills time bomb". There just aren't enough highly skilled workers coming up through apprenticeships and training schemes. Demand's booming, but we're running out of workers. You might well find that a specialised skill you have is the ticket to a whole new corner of the market.
If you're already self-employed, or looking to go that route, get in touch with RIFT. We're experts in construction and know the terrain like no one else. From tax refunds to Self Assessment returns, we're here to help you build your dream job.