Non-payment within the industry is becoming a real issue! In fact, 43% of self-employed workers have been found to have completed jobs, and not been paid for them. Some added up to £60,000 worth of work!

This is according to a report by IPSE and IPA. Titled, ‘What makes for good self-employment?’, the report found that this poor payment culture was leaving many self-employed workers down. While many stated that they were happy with their working lives, this payment problem was also found to be most rife among young self-employed workers. Specifically, 54% of those aged between 18-34 stated they’d not been paid for jobs before.

In fact, payment problems were one of the top most annoying things for tradespeople. Whether that’s paying late, or asking for things for free. Take a look at the full list here.

Alongside highlighting this issue though, this new report also identified several key components that contributed towards overall work satisfaction. These were:
– Work-life balance and skillset.
– Client relationships.
– The sense of purpose and the possibility of progression.

Based on this, the new report made several suggestions:
– Tackle the issue of both none and late payments. It was suggested this should be done by providing the Small Business Commissioner with more power to act on these late payers.
– Encourage the self-employed to learn new skills. This could be done by giving the self-employed access to the Flexible Learning Fund and Apprenticeship Levy or through educational vouchers.
– Encourage working together, strengthening the support between self-employed workers. As we already know, the construction industry is notoriously good for banding together when someone is in need. But, this report has recommended that more support is needed between each other simply when it comes to being self-employed.
– Make client obligations clear. This would help promote positive relationships between workers and clients and boost productivity.

IPSE’s director of policy shared his thoughts on the matter. He described: “This is a hugely significant and timely report.”

“With ‘good work’ the issue of the hour after the Taylor Review, it is vital that we understand what makes for good working conditions not just for employees but also for the self-employed.”

“Although it has been good to see self-employment rising up the Government agenda, all too often discussions about it have been based on anecdote rather than fact.”

“This report – based on detailed focus groups as well as a survey of hundreds of self-employed people from across the UK – drills down into the reality of self-employment.”

“The findings are remarkable.”

“Firstly, although it is good to see that the self-employed are generally very happy with their work, it is truly shocking to discover how far poor payment culture still goes.”

“While the Government has taken some steps to improve it, it is simply unacceptable that 43 per cent of self-employed people are still finding themselves up to £60,000 out of pocket because of their clients’ failings.”

“It was also extremely interesting to note that while poor payment culture clearly has a serious impact on the quality of some self-employed people’s working lives, this is not universal.”

“For most, skills development is actually much more important for good-quality self-employment.”

“With self-employment on the rise across the UK and beyond, it has never been more important to support this way of working and make sure it remains a positive choice for all.”

“The recommendations for Government and industry in this crucial report should help to do just that.”

So what do you think of this? Does more need to be done? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


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