Gabriele Skelton e-mail sparks concern over freelance payments

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation is advising design industry recruiters to ensure that they are fully compliant when reviewing client and freelance candidate payment terms.

Recruitment agency Gabriele Skelton has prompted concern among freelances after circulating an e-mail saying they would only receive wages once clients had paid the agency.

The e-mail states, ‘Because several of our clients are taking much longer to pay us, Gabriele Skelton will in future only be able to pay you once we have received the monies owed to us [by the] client with whom you have been temporarily employed on site.’

The REC warns that, in line with the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations Act 2003, agencies are obliged to pay freelances working as sole traders once evidence that work carried out has been provided. These rules do not apply, however, to those trading as a limited company.

REC director of professional standards Fiona Coombe says, ‘It’s a difficult position for recruitment agencies to be in, especially when clients are making payment terms longer, and paying temporary workers without guarantee of payment themselves. But legally they are obliged to pay temporary workers – those working under a specific company status, anyway.’

Gabriele Skelton managing director Karina Beasley says the decision was taken in order to root out clients that were delaying payment by more than 90 days, and to safeguard the future of the business.

She assures Design Week that candidates working under Pay As You Earn and Umbrella Company schemes will be guaranteed payment because the agency is ‘factored’.

Beasley adds that a mailout clarifying the agency’s decision will be sent out next week to clear up any confusion caused.

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