Self-employed would welcome sick pay, study suggests

Monday 10 July 2017

British micro-business owners and freelancers find sick pay more appealing than any other benefit, a new study has found. 

Research from FreeAgent and the Freelancer and Contractor Services Association (FCSA) identified that sick pay provision would be more valuable than maternity pay, job seeker’s allowance and pension auto-enrolment. 

Findings show that 76 per cent of respondents do not have any way to provide sick pay, maternity/paternity leave, holiday or redundancy pay in their company. 

This means that many self-employed people will now be working without the same basic entitlements as those in full-time work. 

As well as this, the study found that people’s desire for extra benefits largely depended on the structure of their organisation, with sole traders more likely to value benefits than those working through their own limited companies

Savings was an interesting topic in the study, with 35 per cent of respondents admitting they not have plans in place to fund their retirement and 22 per cent saying they would opt out of auto-enrolment.

Julia Kermode, FCSA’s chief executive added: “We know from recent high-profile media cases where self-employed drivers and couriers have sought “worker” status and accompanying rights, as in the Uber tribunal, that rights will undoubtedly be a focus of the Taylor Review.  

“With this in mind, we conducted our research to establish what benefits self-employed people might actually want, particularly given that it is such a diverse population working across all sectors within the UK.”

Ms Kermode went on to say that, for many people, self-employment is a career choice but many have not made the right provisions to cover the same benefits as employees. 

She added that not all contractors and freelancers want the same benefits and hopes that the evidence informs policy decisions, especially if the government raises their tax payments. 

The findings are released in advance of the release of the Taylor Review, which is a report into employment practices in the modern economy. 

It is expected to be released in the next few weeks and will look at how employment practices must change to keep up with contemporary business models. 

It is led by Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the Royal Society of the Arts, and will investigate how new digital platforms are impacting workforces across the country. 

The investigation will be supported by a panel of specialists, including Paul Broadbent, chief executive of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority and Greg Marsh, founder of onefinestay. 


By Victoria McDonnell

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