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Freelancers should get sick pay, according to specialists

More than three quarters of self-employed Brits have no provisions in place in case of emergency absences, according to new studies. Remaining mostly unprepared in the face of pregnancy, holiday and redundancy pay, micro-business owners and freelancers would value receiving sick pay over any other statutory pay.

Carried out by the Freelancer and Contractor Services Association (FSCA) with software firm FreeAgent, the specialists have raised concerns that there could be millions of freelancing Brits working without the basic entitlements of employed workers. The study comes in anticipation of an upcoming review into modern employment by Royal Society of Arts’ Matthew Taylor, which is expected to determine how businesses need to change to keep up with the changing world.

“The UK’s millions of freelancers and micro-business owners should be able to enjoy the same statutory entitlements as their employed counterparts – especially if they will be expected to pay the same level of tax,” said FreeAgent CEO, Ed Molyneux. “I therefore hope that the forthcoming Taylor review will be looking closely into this issue, and that the report will make suitable recommendations for how to address the current inequality that exists between employed and self-employed workers.”

While discovering that many across the country are working without any safety net in case of unforeseen emergencies, the report also revealed that more than one in three have no current plans in place to fund their retirement. A further 50% of respondents also admitted either choosing to opt-out of auto-enrolment pension schemes or being wary of opting-in. With the rights of the self-employed expected to be a major point in the upcoming Taylor review, the FSCA wanted to discover what benefits freelancers would want rather than what they need.

“It is clear from our research that many have not made appropriate provisions to cover benefits that employees receive,” said Julia Kermode, chief executive of FCSA. “I hope that our evidence helps to inform policy decisions, particularly if the Government intends to increase tax or NICs for self-employed people – as there must be something offered in exchange for increasing the financial burden of the self-employed.

“Not all self-employed workers want the same things so there is no one-size fits all solution, in particular those working through their own limited companies are more likely to already have provision for welfare benefits.”