MPs call for freelance rights

FOURTEEN MPs have so far signed an Early Day Motion calling for full workers' rights for freelances, including redundancy pay when contracts are cancelled. Encourage your MP to sign: contact them through www.theyworkforyou.com and direct them to EDM 1961 at http://edmi.parliament.uk/ - and it's just as important to contact your MP to thank them if they have signed the Motion, to let them know they're not working in isolation, and that somebody does care.

This, and a report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Freelance Sector accepting the need for "dependent workers" to have stronger rights, culminated the NUJ's Freelance Month of July. (In future, perhaps we won't hold the month in the peak period for freelances who work shifts as holiday cover for others - or when the lucky few are out of the country ourselves.)

The Professional Contractors' Group, formed to oppose the Inland Revenue's "IR 35" rules by computer contractors who typically work shifts for one company for years on end, is not happy. The Freelance would like to reassure them that entitlement to workers' rights is just one of the tests that the Revenue apply in deciding whether we're entitled to deduct a self-employed person's expenses before paying tax. IR 35 is designed to collect full PAYE tax from anyone whose working relationship is, in fact if not in name, employment.

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