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The BBC does the right thing by PAYE freelances

THE NUJ has welcomed the BBC's commitment to offer financial support and fair treatment to freelances covered by the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) scheme.

The government's furlough scheme pays 80 per cent of an individual's salary up to a maximum of £2500 per month. The BBC has already mirrored this scheme for BBC freelances who had been booked for shifts in March, April and May. The BBC has said it was told by the Government it could not furlough them - as has happened to other workers paid PAYE - because it is a public service organisation.

The BBC will now extend its offer of support to include the 649 PAYE freelances who have worked for the corporation every month for the last year but had no bookings or reduced bookings during the lockdown. The PAYE freelances affected will receive their average earnings for March, April and May and the payments will be capped at £2500.

Pamela Morton, NUJ national Freelance Organiser, said:

We have been urging the BBC to offer support to its PAYE freelances since the start of the lockdown. I am pleased they have listened to the trade unions and are going to help people.

This week the NUJ has taken the drastic step of submitting a legal challenge aimed at forcing the government to treat people fairly. We are trying to convince the Chancellor to amend the existing financial support schemes and extended them to cover people who are currently excluded.

NUJ freelance members who are PAYE freelances, or newly self-employed, or without 50 per cent self-employed self-assessed income, or working via limited companies, or self-employed earning more £50,000 - all need some form of government support and assistance during the ongoing health and economic crisis.

For details see the NUJ announcement and if need be contact the Broadcasting Organiser.