Self-employed feel less supported than large-scale businesses

women at desk scrolling on laptopA study found that 75% of self-employed workers believe that they do not have sufficient workplace rights compared to employees.

A recent study from Prospect found that 64% of self-employed were less likely to continue their work after the pandemic.

Evidence shows that nine out of ten asked felt as though the level of support they received during the pandemic did not reflect their tax contribution.

Just over half said they would be happy to pay out more tax to have better protection from the government.

In their study, Prospect outlined ways the government could further support self-employed workers by ending any exclusions from government support packages and extending health and safety rights at work, sick pay and paid parental leave.

Sara Kettle, a self-employed domestic cleaner, says the support she has received from the government has been adequate.

“I know there are people that have fallen through the criteria because they’ve either not got the right tax year or they’ve just started to be self-employed. I don’t think they’ve looked after them enough, but then there has to be a cut-off point.

“They’ve been very efficient and once they got their act together as to what they were going to give us, they worked it out very quickly. Often self-employed workers don’t get anything so I think they’ve treated us fairly.

“I’ll definitely stay self-employed for as long as I can. Once you’ve been self-employed it’s very difficult to go back. It would be very difficult as I like to be my own boss.”

Mike Clancy, Prospect general secretary, said “The news that barely a third of all self-employed and freelance workers are confident they want to continue to work in this way should be a massive wake-up call to the government.

“These workers have powered our economy in recent years and this flexible workforce were lauded by ministers as key to our prosperity. But the way they have been treated in this pandemic is disgraceful and will have consequences for our ability to recover in 2021 in beyond.”

Unlike the self-employed, big businesses have felt more supported by the Government. Businesses had the option to claim back statutory sick pay and not pay business rates for the 2020-2021 tax year.

Michelle Sinclair, a HR manager for the MJ Allen Group, says “I think the government have done an amazing job in trying to help out big businesses.

“They’ve offered loans, which we haven’t actually accepted, but we have made use of the furlough scheme and that has been a Godsend. As work has tailed off in some areas, we have been allowed to furlough people and the second part of the furlough scheme meant that you could bring people back flexibly. That’s really helped us.”

With large corporations feeling as though they are being supported by the Government, the self-employed think it’s time the government started to listen to them and give them more support.

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