Much of the UK’s burgeoning freelance sector is working for free, claims new research revealed today.
The study, compiled by freelancer platform YunoJuno, found that over half (55 per cent) of the UK’s self employed freelancers have worked for free as a result of late payments or unpaid invoices.
Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) admit to continuing to work for businesses despite outstanding invoices being drastically overdue, with one in ten freelancers stating they do nothing when a client pays late.
Meanwhile, the research also found 41 per cent of clients who hire freelancers consistently pay late, by an average of two and a half weeks (18.5 days).
A lack of knowledge about how to counter late payments was also found.
Over half of all freelancers questioned (53 per cent) said they were not aware of their rights when clients do not pay, with one third (34 per cent) saying they don’t understand how late payment charges work, or know what to charge.
Twenty per cent admitted they don’t feel confident enough to enforce late payment charges, worried about the possible repercussions of being seen to chase clients.
Only seven per cent add late payment charges to contracts, yet a quarter (25 per cent) of these admitted never implementing them, but only mentioning them in a bid to nudge for payment.
The research comes after IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed, reveals those working in the sector lose an annual average of 20 days chasing unpaid invoices*.
Commenting on the findings, Shib Mathew, CEO at YunoJuno, said, “The culture of late payments needs to stop. Chasing overdue invoices not only wastes time, but causes unnecessary stress and anxiety for freelancers.”
“This research shows that there is not only a lack of care by some clients to pay their workers on time, but there is an underlying fear among the freelancer community that they’ll lose the client, or lose respect, if they chase for their hard-earned money. It’s this latter part that is most worrying.”
Shib concludes, “The majority of our 18,000 members have come to us seeking help for this exact issue, which clearly demonstrates the scale of the problem. There would be an uproar if a business was late paying staff wages – and the same should be true of freelancers.”
In addition to helping UK freelancers find the latest tech and creative vacancies, YunoJuno handles invoice management with clients, helping its freelancers get paid within 14 days from submitting an invoice.
This article was provided by YunoJuno.