15 May 2020

Coronavirus v freelancers

Every week, Maddyness curates articles from other outlets on a topic that is driving the headlines. This week, we take a look at how freelancers are coping amid the COVID-19 crisis and the support they can relate to.

Bectu finds 1M UK freelancers not covered under the government scheme

The Office for National Statistics has reported 14.3% of self-employed people are sole directors of their own companies and 12.3% are freelancers, both of which are not covered by the government’s coronavirus Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) which is aimed at sole traders. Bectu urges Treasury to fill the gaps with at least one-quarter of those self-employed in the UK not eligible for the government support scheme during the COVID-19 crisis. Read the full article on IBC.

What is Bectu? Bectu is the union for creative ambition that represents over 40,000 staff, contract and freelance workers in the media and entertainment industries.

Coronavirus-hit freelancers anxiously wait on SEISS portal launch

While the opening is “ahead of the original timetable” according to HMRC, which initially promised a June launch, SEISS will only fully open by May 18, says advisory Clive Owen. But a creative industries freelancer says he has another date pencilled in his diary – May 15, because that’s when HMRC has told him he must wait until, for it to gauge if he’s eligible. Read the full article on Freelancers UK.

The great freelancer debate

Broadcast and ScreenSkills hosted a Zoom debate about the precarious nature of freelance TV production work. The COVID-19 production shutdown has exposed the precarious nature of employment for many freelance production staff, who are facing cancelled contracts and no road map of when they might next work. Around 600 people watched the roundtable debate to explore whether it is realistic for the industry to reassess how it contracts and treats freelancers, and how it can ensure viable, stable career paths for the people tasked with turning great ideas into hit shows. Read the full webinar’s report on Broadcast.

Should fashion freelancers unionise?

The COVID-19 crisis has accentuated solidarity and camaraderie between fashion freelance workers, who have started to think about unionisation and self-organising. While organisations lobbying the government for the fashion sector and protecting freelancers exist, some think a formal protecting body specifically dedicated to fashion independent workers is needed to address industry-specific issues. Read the full story on Vogue Business.

‘Freelance Heroes Day’ launches to support 80,000 Welsh freelancers

A UK-wide community of independents and freelancers is set to hold its third annual ‘Freelance Heroes Day’ in a bid to support Wales’ 80,000 freelancers. On Saturday, May 16 the group, Freelance Heroes, will hold #FreelanceHeroesDay to unite the self-employed community and champion the individual, with this year’s theme focusing on the person behind the freelancer. Read the full article on South Wales Argus.

Caroline Norbury looks at the creative crisis caused by COVID-19

The CEO of Creative England and the Creative Industries Federation talks about the disciplines worst hit by the Covid-19 crisis, why the system has never fit the creative sector, and why we need to address the present before heading into the future. Read the full interview on Creative Review.

A series of podcasts to help out of work freelancers

Surviving as a freelancer is challenging enough at the best of times, let alone during a pandemic. For many of us who’ve lost work and clients, the focus right now is on pivoting and finding new ways to earn money, but that’s by no means easy. And being stuck at home makes things even harder, both practically and emotionally. This series of podcasts will help freelancers make the best use of your their free time, and planning realistically for an uncertain future. Discover the podcasts here.