National Freelancers Day: 7 policies that could improve the lives of self-employed workers
With National Freelancers Day putting the spotlight on Britain’s self-employed, experts have put forward a series of recommendations to protect the wellbeing of the country’s freelance workforce.
The Way to Wellbeing report, published to coincide with National Freelancers Day by the Centre for Research on Self-Employment (CRSE), challenged self-employed wellbeing through the conventional prism? of economic success to draw focus towards overall life satisfaction.
The analysis took a holistic approach by considering income, health, family life and leisure, also identifiying ‘striking? differences between the employed and self-employed
Among the report’s recommendations for policy makers were pushes for greater access to working spaces, training and mentoring opportunities.
Here are the seven key messages put forward by the report’s author, Martin Binder, professor of economics at Bard College Berlin.
Access to mentoring
“Ensure better and faster access to mentoring when starting out andduring business crisis periodsto reduce stress and improve confidence in crucial times. This can be done by embedding mentoring in job centres.”
“Increase confidence by improving access to skills-development resourcestailored to the self-employed. The Treasury could also make skills development more cost-effective by extending tax allowances to cover new skills and by granting self-employed people training vouchers.”
More co-working spaces
“Create more co-working spaces to combat the sense of isolation the self-employed often experience, allowing them to work together and also share insurances, childcare and other business-related services. This is something that can be achieved by government, co-operatives and professional organisations working together to incentivise the creation of more spaces.”
Abolish the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA)
“Abolish the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) or improve its extremely low uptakeby offering accompanying training and mentoring particularly confidence-building measures for people who are self-employed because of a lack of other employment opportunities.”
“Create a moreappreciative culture where business failures are seen as a normal part of entrepreneurial life, not as personal failures of the self-employed. This can be done by reforming bankruptcy regulation to allow for good faith business failures.”
Introduce specialised finance products
“Prioritise solutions that help reduce the stress caused by irregular cash flows. The banking industry should introduce self-employment-friendly banking services, as well as informational campaigns and online resources to promote existing funding and emergency credit initiatives.”
Improve the long-term financial sustainability of the self-employed
“The DWP and pension providers should?introduce financial products and information about saving for later life that are specifically tailored to the self-employed. In particular, ?the default? or ‘sidecar? model, where a portion of monthly earnings is automatically defaulted? to an accessible savings account.”
Read more advice for freelancers and the self-employed:
Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.
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