Freelancers and New Businesses Advised to Protect Their Rights

by EasyEditor Newswire

Hundreds of thousands of workers turning freelance or starting new businesses to make a living in the face of a tough economic climate have been warned to ensure they protect their intellectual property and guard against the pitfalls of late payment.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of self-employed people rose by 59,000 in the first three months of this year to reach a new high of 3.93 million. While full-time job vacancies have fallen by 45 percent from pre-recession levels the number of self-employed workers looks set to grow over the next couple of years.

While at least a quarter of small businesses throughout the UK admit the recession has had a dramatic impact on them 81 percent claim they have turned to freelance workers to help with short-term projects instead of employing permanent staff.

Freelancers are now an important part of the UK labour force contributing at least 8 percent of business turnover and are considered a low risk, flexible resource that can be turned on and off as firms start to grow again.

“Whether people choose to become freelance or are forced into working for themselves because of the lack of permanent jobs they still need to protect themselves and their intellectual property,” said David Reilly of Create Ts & Cs.

“The need for properly worded terms and conditions of business has never been more prevalent. Doing business without terms and conditions means running the risk of not getting paid and, in some circumstances, losing the rights to intellectual property.”

The recession has done a lot to break the psychological contract between employer and employee which in many ways promoted a degree of loyalty and trust which is different between freelancer and client.

“Many freelance people and new businesses have to wait months to get paid and risk losing control of their work if they don’t spell out their terms and conditions before taking on a job. It doesn’t have to be complicated just straightforward and unambiguous so there is no room for dispute.”

“It’s an important time to value what you do or what your business has to offer. Commitment to seeking formality is critical and discourages the unscrupulous from not paying or the thrifty from avoiding late payment”.