Frequently Asked Questions

A statue: see caption

Sculpture at the University of Suffolk Waterfront campus in Ipswich

RATHER A LOT of useful information for freelances has appeared in the Freelance and it's all archived online at www.londonfreelance.org/fl.

But what's where? This updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list will help you find it. From "holiday pay" to getting money out of recalcitrant clients to understanding your copyright in your work, it's all here. Or if it isn't, you'll tell us.

^ I need the emergency legal number - fast! Where is it?

Up-to-date phone numbers for emergency legal support for members are at www.londonfreelance.org/emergency

For non-emergency legal matters NUJ members should read this guide and then contact the Freelance Office.

^ What help can I get in these times of covid-19?

The Freelance has regularly updated reports with many links to further advice. See also:

^ Brexit

See www.londonfreelance.org/brexit.html for a list of Freelance reports

^ I'm a photographer

See www.londonfreelance.org/photo - updated frequently with news and advice useful to photographers and other visual creators.

^ How do reduced rate NUJ subscriptions work?

There's no need to let your membership lapse if the standard subs rate seems a bit high for your income - you need pay no more than 1 per cent of your taxable income: see this guide.

^ When is the next Branch meeting and what's it about?

The Branch meetings link near the top of the home page goes to www.londonfreelance.org/lfb/meetings.html - (where you will also find reports of meetings since 1999).

Also check @NUJ_LFB on Twitter for last-minute updates.

^ When are the next London Freelance Branch training courses?

There's a list at www.londonfreelance.org/training

^ I've just become a self-employed freelance journalist. What do I need to do about tax, how do I file a tax return?

For guides with links to what you have to do see www.londonfreelance.org/fl/2012tax.html and the Freelance Fees Guide offers basic advice on what you currently need to do.

We're keeping a close eye on proposed changes in the tax law - see www.londonfreelance.org/fl/1708tax.html and following articles.

^ Am I eligible for a Press Card? If so, how do I apply for one, or renew one?

The Press Cards Authority issues cards to NUJ members who can show that they are news-gatherers. You cannot apply for a Press Card until after your NUJ membership is approved. See about join the union at www.londonfreelance.org/nuj-join.html and see detailed advice from the Freelance at www.londonfreelance.org/fl/1702pca.html.

^ How can I protect my sources, with all these Investigatory Powers laws?

London Freelance Branch has had a number of eminent speakers giving useful advice, summarised by the Editor at www.londonfreelance.org/fl/sources.html

^ My client is late paying! Where can I find out what to do?

There's a calculator for interest and compensation on late payments at www.londonfreelance.org/interest.html - with links to more advice. And NUJ members can use the form at www.londonfreelance.org/collect.html which helps you provide all the details the Freelance Office needs to help NUJ members chase really recalcitrant clients.

See, also, the Gong Award archive at www.londonfreelance.org/gong.html for previous late payers.

^ What's this about "BACS payments" and what do I need to do to get one?

Use the Bankers Automated Clearing Services (sic) to get paid directly into your account: see www.londonfreelance.org/fl/1702bacs.html which also explains the "IBAN" code.

^ Copyright? Help! What are my rights in my work?

People who say copyright is complicated are mostly people with an interest in pulling the wool over your eyes. It's not. Read the absolute basics in just 800 words at www.londonfreelance.org/c-basics.html and we have a booklet that is free to NUJ members: Copyright for journalists and writers. See also our advice in the Freelance Fees Guide.

^ I've found my work used without permission...

Do not look for a lawyer. See this advice from the Freelance Fees Guide on things you can do for yourself (and this advice on how to find unauthorised uses of your work). If you are an NUJ member, contact the Freelance Office before you seek advice anywhere else. If you are not, join now.

^ Where can I quickly find rates being paid by different clients?

The Rate For The Job page is at www.londonfreelance.org/rates - which you can reach from the home page by clicking on the Rate for the Job logo.

^ What are the suggested rates? There are so many different rates in the Rate for the Job...

You want the Freelance Fees Guide, at www.londonfreelance.org/feesguide

^ Should I work for this client?

Nothing can substitute for doing your own duly diligent research into a company. See here for some companies that NUJ members may want to disucss with the Freelance Office. Also check the Gong Award nominations for late payment.

^ Commissions? contracts? How do they work? Where do I get help?

See the advice section of the Freelance Fees Guide and in particular the section on commissions and contracts.

^ Does an email count as a contract?

A Freelance Organiser writes: "If an email exchange contains a clear offer and a clear acceptance and agreement on a 'consideration' such as cash then it constitutes a contract. We have used emails as evidence in the Small Claims Court for many years." More from the Freelance Fees Guide here.

^ What about holiday pay/paid time off and other worker's rights?

Your entitlement is 24 days a year, pro rata for the days you work. See the Freelance Fees Guide advice.

^ My client has cancelled the work they booked. What can I do?

You had a contract. They owe you. That's the theory. For advice concerning commissioned articles and pictures see the Freelance Fees Guide page on "kill fees" and for work booked by the day that on cancellation fees for shifts.

^ How do I find contact details for Branch committee members or for people at head office?

For email addresses for London Freelance Branch (LFB) go to www.londonfreelance.org/lfb/contact.html - and for Head Office go to www.nuj.org.uk/contacts. Then click on the link for the contacts you want.

^ How do I tell the NUJ I've moved or that I've just become freelance or...

All is explained at www.londonfreelance.org/fl/1705coa.html - or go directly to the Change of Address form via this link.

^ Email discussions - how do I join one?

Click on the networks link on the home page - or go to www.londonfreelance.org /contacts.html#networks - then click on the name of the network, then fill in the form to introduce yourself.

^ When is the next Branch meeting and what's it about?

The Branch meetings link near the top of the home page goes to www.londonfreelance.org/lfb/meetings.html - (where you will also find reports of meetings since 1999).

Also check @NUJ_LFB on Twitter for last-minute updates.

^ But I don't know what my question is! What question do I ask?

Go to the website home page at www.londonfreelance.org - you know you are there because that's what's written across the top. It has links to the most commonly used pages of the site. The home page also has a link to the site map: full contents in the box below Alerts. That page lists all the major sections of the site.

The site is so big - more than 6500 pages - that even its architects generally use the site search engine to find the information they want. Click on the "Menu" link by the "Freelance" logo on all recent pages to pull up a search box.

It's not perfect. We're working on it. In the meantime, try entering site:londonfreelance.org into your favourite search engine, followed by the words or phrase you're looking for.

Either way, you want to type in a word or words that should appear in the page you want to read, then click "Search". For more help and advice on searching the site, see www.londonfreelance.org/searchlp.html

^ What more advice is available?

You can always search this website for keywords.

^ Wrong questions?

We need your suggestions for more FAQs. Email editor@londonfreelance.org