The company I'm asking about hires a lot of remote workers, for various projects, and seems to prefer working through freelancing sites (upwork, for example.) During initial talks I mentioned what I would have expected as a wage in USD (as requested by the company) which would have put my hourly rate at just over the national minimum. The amount that was quoted back to me was just over 3/4 of my initial "expectation" quote, with the additional stipulation that the agency would be taking 10% of that as well.

Accepting these terms would leave me well under what would be considered a "living wage" here in the UK.

I am genuinely in the dark about this, despite searching government websites. Is this a legal business practice? Shall I proceed with talks, as some money is better than no money, in the hopes I can increase my value to the company, and in turn, my wage? Or do I keep looking for other options?

  • Hi and welcome to The Workplace! Sadly we can't really answer this one for you as it hinges on legalities which are off-topic here. You might be better off asking over on Law.SE or asking a lawyer. If you're unable to afford a legal consultation and seeing that you are in the UK you could try asking at the Citizen's Advice Bureau – motosubatsu Oct 17 '17 at 12:39
  • thanks, i have already checked with the CAB website and there's not a lot that covers these particular circumstances. I might have to give them a call, and re-post this in Law.SE to see if anyone else is in a similar situation. Thanks for your time though. – Dagstar Oct 17 '17 at 12:44
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    HMRC ensure that UK companies pay the minimum wage. However, if the company is international and you're working for them remotely, there is no way for them to ensure that the minimum wage legislation is enforced. In addition, you already know that Upwork will charge a Service Fee, however they will then charge you VAT on that service fee too (so another 20% of the fee, as VAT) Not only that, they will then charge you to make a withdrawal (currently a minimum of $2 USD per withdrawal). As others have said - consider this carefully. I wouldn't accept a job for less than minimum wage. – AdzzzUK Oct 17 '17 at 13:05
  • sorry I couldn't be of more use! – motosubatsu Oct 17 '17 at 13:10
  • "Accepting these terms would leave me well under what would be considered a "living wage"..." - You change from takling about minimum wage in your opening paragraph to talking about living wage, which are likely different. Stick to one term/standard. Are they offering you something actually below the minimum wage, or is it just a bad offer? – Brandin Oct 17 '17 at 13:49

Are you contracting or are they employing you? Have they sorted out pensions, benefits, national insurance, employers' liability insurance etc in employ you? Since this arrangement is in $s, I doubt it. They probably expect you to be a contractor or self employed.

This is complex and it seems like you don't have a great understanding level of this currently. You should expect to be getting "paid" much more because you have your own employer side tax to pay and benefits to purchase. This is not where the complexities of working for yourself end, but it's genuinely not worth getting into unless they're paying you more in the range of double what you'd like for a normal job.

Just forget it and move on. I know it sucks, but keep looking for a normal job.

I'm making assumptions. If the agency is UK based and actually employing you, that's different, and it's your business to take it or not as long as it's at or above £6.70 an hour.

I also don't know how upwork works, but I imagine (for the users who lack their own limited company) you're self-employed it's additional income you declare. Or maybe in practice people don't declare it, but HMRC will notice if this becomes your full time gig.

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