Government must create “emergency fund” to stop freelancers getting “left behind” in Coronavirus planning

Freelancers and the self-employed are being “left behind” in government Coronavirus (COVID-19) planning, IPSE has warned.

The Association raised the problem that while employees can be guaranteed sick pay when they self-isolate or if their office closes, freelancers and the self-employed do not have the same security and risk losing income.

The Association has called on the government to issue guidance specific to freelancers and also set up an emergency fund to support self-employed people who lose income because of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Andy Chamberlain, Deputy Director of Policy at IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed): “Freelancers and the self-employed must not be left behind in planning for the Coronavirus outbreak. They are at particular risk because, unlike most employees, they are not eligible for sick pay if they have to self-isolate or their client office closes.

“Freelancers must not be an afterthought in government planning. They should not be left to choose between their health and their income because they do not have sick pay.

“IPSE has written to the Health Secretary calling on him to urgently issue guidance for freelancers. We’ve also called on him set up an emergency fund to support freelancers and contractors who cannot avoid losing income because of the outbreak.

“If you are freelance, you should not put yourself more at risk just because you are self-employed. Start discussing arrangements with your client now, plan your income for the next few months carefully and, if possible, prepare to work remotely. Crucially though, whether you’re an employee or a freelancer, health comes first.”