Self-employed don’t want any rights, survey reveals

Sickness, maternity and holiday rights of self-employed workers have been called into question following the uncertainty over the self-employed status of Uber drivers.

More than 80 per cent of self-employed workers say they do not want any rights at all, according to freelance and contractor platform ContractorCalculator.

Of the 250 freelancers who took part in the survey, 88 per cent claim they do not want maternity/paternity rights or sickness pay.

Respondents prefer to negotiate holidays around contracts or their clients’ needs, meaning 85 per cent shun holiday rights and pay. More than three quarters (80 per cent) do not want to receive extra rights to help with grievances against clients or internal disciplinary matters.

The vast majority (94 per cent) of self-employed business owners prefer to manage their own rights and affairs and do not want any restrictions on hours.

Self-employed workers want to manage themselves

The results come as Uber drivers await the verdict of an employment tribunal that will decide whether they should be classed as workers rather than self-employed, and should therefore be entitled to the same rights as employees; the minimum wage, sickness pay, holiday pay, a pension and other statutory benefits.

Dave Chaplin, CEO and founder of Contractor Calculator says, ‘The government needs to understand that media reports associated with self-employed couriers and drivers who are part of the gig economy do not paint the full picture of self-employment.

‘There are thousands upon thousands of the self-employed working on a business-to-business basis who are very happy with the way they work and the last thing they want is further legislative burdens.  They do not see themselves as vulnerable workers.’

Chaplin thinks there is a thin line between protecting the self-employed while preserving the freelance sector, and that introducing more red tape for freelancers will damage the economy.

‘It seems that some firms are using the on-demand gig-economy to effectively suppress workers rights and pay them less than the minimum wage and these firms should be challenged about how they treat their workers and should be forced to treat them fairly and appropriately.

‘But this simply isn’t the case for all self-employed workers. 78 per cent of the freelance workforce have chosen to work this way, they want to be responsible for themselves and their businesses and they do not want rights. They should be allowed to get on with it.’

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