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New regulations to help contractors?

While it may be too early to declare definitively, new employment regulations instituted recently may actually help contract workers.

Firms found themselves in the position this month of updating their human resources practices to accommodate the new regulatory landscape, which could certainly be a hassle when it comes to the shorter term. Many HR departments may be silently cursing the fact that they have a large number of freelancers working for them now, but industry experts say the future could hold some excellent opportunities for other self-employed freelance workers if these new regulations stick around for a bit.

It’s no secret that contract working is a growing trend, and many people in the know and on the move insist that by the end of the decade the average firm will make use of enough freelancers to comprise half their overall workforce. This is of course an HR manager’s bloody nightmare as contractors tend to flit in and out of a company on a per-project basis, but the trend towards digitisation and online cloud computing could mean that it will actually become easier to manage the comings and goings of these ephemeral birds and blokes by then.

At any rate, I tend to agree with this assessment. As the regulatory landscape changes in response to the growth of the contracting community, firms will change to adapt to these new regulations and will in turn make themselves more welcoming to freelancers in the future. This will of course lead to even more regulatory changes to support these new standards of working, and before you know it the humble contract worker will finally claim his or her rightful place as one of the saviours of the British economy.

I mean think about it: during the economic downturn, many companies couldn’t afford to keep their doors open and also pay their employees. Replacing key positions with freelancers meant a reduction in costs for the firm, enabling them to remain viable as the economy ended up in the toilet and providing them the ability to continue to function as the situation recovered. Without contractors, many British companies would have gone belly-up – or at least many more than those that already did! I can only hope that contractors get the recognition they deserve for their contributions.

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