Ersatz - find a substitute for your contract
Ersatz is a new social professional network for contractors to enable them to connect with other people who could be used as a substitution. You can probably see what we’ve done with the name. Slightly tongue-in-cheek.
For Contractors in the UK, there has always been the phantom of IR35 looming over them.
This was a bit of legislation that came in in 2000, but has caused no end of confusion.
Essentially, a contract can be classified as either inside or outside of IR35. If it’s inside then the person doing the work, the contractor, is deemed an employee for tax purposes. But not an employee for rights purposes (so no holiday, sick pay etc.). As of April 2020 there will be a change in the private sector where the end client will be liable and responsible for determining the status of the contract correctly. This has caused a lot of concern, and risk aversion from end clients.
One of tests that HMRC use to determine if a contract is truly outside IR35 is if there is the ability to use a substitution. So the person doing the work can change.
Along comes Ersatz
This is a project that Open Sussex wanted to put together quickly. So we used our knowledge of open source software and found a suitable platform so we could get a proof of concept up and running quickly to see if there was an interest in such a professional social network.