We freelance through illness, say eight in 10

A call for the government to give freelancers sick pay has been spluttered out again, as a dangerously high number of one-man bands have coughed up about working while ill.

In a 500-strong survey of freelancers and micro-businesses, 82% admitted to an instance of working during an illness, as they “could not afford to take time off” to recover.

“What makes self-employment especially tough is that there is rarely any kind of safety net in place to help protect you from the unforeseen,” said accounting software firm FreeAgent, which ran the survey.

 “If you’re too sick to work, you won’t make any money -- and it’s clear that many micro-business owners feel that they have to tough through an illness rather than actually taking time to rest and recuperate.”

The firm’s comments follow a call by the Freelancer & Contractor Services Association for ministers to consider offering freelancers sick pay, as a poll found it was the most highly envied statutory perk.

With the government currently considering ‘levelling the playing field’ in terms of the tax that employed and self-employed people pay, FreeAgent’s Ed Molyneux wants the 82% of freelancers who have had to work while ill to be factored in, before the government acts.

“Potentially [what’s needed is the] introduction of support to help people who run their own businesses mitigate the risks of self-employment and ensure that they do not put their health in jeopardy.”

A former freelancer, Mr Molyneux added: “We know that sick pay is the one benefit that freelancers and micro-business owners are most interested in receiving, so hopefully progress can be made towards providing this kind of safety net for them in the future.”

 

19th December 2017

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