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Unions crowdfund to fight taxing problem

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By Angela Sharda
15 November 2017

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Two unions are raising £10,000 to fund a legal challenge to prevent locums from losing thousands of pounds by NHS trusts taxing them as if they were employees.

The Independent Health Professionals Association (IHPA) teamed up with the Healthcare Professionals Union (HPU) to crowdfund £10,000 for legal fees by the end of November for legal costs.

Two unions are raising £10,000 to fund a legal challenge to prevent locums from losing thousands of pounds by NHS trusts taxing them as if they were employees.

The Independent Health Professionals Association (IHPA) teamed up with the Healthcare Professionals Union (HPU) to crowdfund £10,000 for legal fees by the end of November for legal costs.

They want to bring  a judicial review to ensure NHS  trusts follow NHS Improvement (NHSI) guidelines about applying new IR35 tax rules and do not treat locums as if they were on the payroll.

Since April public sector organisations, including the NHS, have to decide whether contractors, including locums, are off-payroll workers or should be taxed at source.

Some locums deemed to be covered by the IR35 tax rules lost out by 30% to 50% as they were taxed as if they ere fully employed, said the unions.

However locums are not entitled to NHS staff rights, including maternity,  NHS pension payments and sick pay.

Locums also have to cover expenses such as long-distance travel and indemnity insurance, said the unions.

NHSI guidance, which was issued in September, told trusts to assess each locum’s contract on a case by case basis.

A ruling in May outlawed a blanket application of the IR35 rule as it failed to assess individual workers’ contracts.

The unions also want to challenge any plans to impose ‘pan London’ rates to locum contracts.

Spokesman Dr Benedict Itsuokor (CORR) said: ‘The IR35 guidelines set out by the NHSI were designed to help locum healthcare workers and NHS providers to work together to achieve an amicable and fair solution to the IR35 tax rule. Sadly the situation on the ground has not improved.’

The unions said: ‘This blanket imposition resulted in a loss of earnings to locum doctors, nurses and allied healthcare professionals.’

They warned: ‘There are real concerns, in London especially, that locum workers are refusing to contract in the NHS and that there will be severe shortages as we head into winter.’

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