Multiplex is a leading global construction company that transforms skylines the world over. It operates predominantly in the commercial, residential and retail sectors and hires contractors across all of its departments, from HR through IT to on-site specialists.
Due to the project-based nature of construction operations, Multiplex relies on the expertise and convenience of contingent labour, which plays an integral role in ensuring the business delivers projects on time and within budget.
Faced with the introduction of the off-payroll working rules to the private sector, Multiplex required a robust compliance solution that could deliver bulletproof status assessments while helping it get up to speed with the finer details of the legislation.
Finding vital IR35 expertise
With approximately 10% of the Multiplex workforce comprised of contractors, the introduction of the off-payroll working rules on 6 April 2021 represented a considerable resource and administrative burden.
Multiplex mainly hires its contractors through recruitment agencies, meaning the legislation’s debt transfer provisions are in play should the company fail to meet its compliance obligations. With no prior IR35 experience existing within the business, the introduction of off-payroll working rules was not just a significant challenge, it was a new one too. The company had no demonstrable way of knowing whether its contractors fell ‘inside’ or ‘outside’ IR35.
This was a situation made more complicated by HMRC’s Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) tool. Multiplex initially ran a test through CEST, with one of the construction company’s most common roles serving as the guinea pig. But when HMRC’s tool returned an ‘outside IR35’ result for a rather obvious ‘inside IR35’ verdict, Multiplex recognised it needed to look elsewhere.
Removing the ambiguity out of status assessments
The onset of the off-payroll working rules to the private sector presented a learning curve for many businesses, not least one without prior IR35 experience. So, Multiplex sought the support of IR35 Shield, choosing to adopt the solution as the cornerstone of its compliance efforts. The construction organisation then spent the next six months using IR35 Shield’s comprehensive Status Determination Statement (SDS) feature as the basis of each of its contractors’ assessments. IR35 Shield supported the new learning experience for Multiplex by sharing its IR35 expertise through online learning sessions and providing quick responses to any IR35-related requests. Naturally, some of Multiplex’s workforce did not agree with their status assessments, so the SDSs were also relied upon in negotiation meetings to provide an in-depth breakdown, and justification of, the reasons behind the assessment.
A robust compliance process is key
Having selected IR35 Shield for Business as its off-payroll compliance solution, Multiplex is experiencing several added-value benefits, including:
“IR35 Shield has been invaluable for us from day one. It is an inclusive and brilliantly robust solution that is accessible, easy-to-use and well-supported, helping us better manage IR35 status assessments.”
Amelia Gregson – Talent Acquisition Specialist, Multiplex
“We have been delighted to support Multiplex with the expertise and tools needed to navigate this complex piece of legislation and deliver robust and defendable determinations. The construction industry thrives around project-based work and it’s essential for UK Plc that construction firms can continue to operate in a compliant manner.”
Dave Chaplin - CEO, IR35 Shield
The introduction of the off-payroll reform to the private sector was a daunting prospect for companies up and down the nation. But with IR35 Shield to call upon, Multiplex confidently navigated the period of uncertainty, and now continues to safeguard its off-payroll compliance efforts using the solution.