So, we’re to entirely ban freelancing then

Zero-hours contracts exploit workers. And despite what the government’s report suggests, and the fact that zero-hours contracts tend to work very well for employers, the vast majority of people on zero-hours contracts want out. The only way to tackle this situation is to ban zero-hours contracts altogether. This will enable more people to have access to secure jobs with decent working hours and opportunities for progression.

Wonder if these legal eagles have actually thought this through? Freelancing, such as wot I do, being a form of zero hours contract of course.

And to be honest about it I’d be seriously pissed off if someone said that they were going to make it illegal for me to – occasionally – write for The Times.

30 comments on “So, we’re to entirely ban freelancing then

  1. Me too. The last thing I want is a full-time job in my 70s, but I’m happy to work for a variety of firms when they need me.

  2. Banning it’d bugger the Bar.

    Better to be plugged into faceless corporatism. Easier to control.

  3. Anyone that wanted to freelance would contract as a supplier, ie via a Ltd, B2B. What they do now mostly in any case.

    If zero hours was made illegal and both parties wanted to get round it, then do the same. Probably wouldn’t work for low level stuff (cost of running the Ltd), so something more imaginative might be needed. The point being that, if people genuinely want to do that, there is always a way.

  4. “The only way to tackle this situation is to ban zero-hours contracts altogether. This will enable more people to have access to secure jobs with decent working hours and opportunities for progression.”

    You know what – the author here is absolutely right. Banning zero hours contracts *will* ensure more people have access to secure jobs.

    Unfortunately, the VAST MAJORITY of those working in zero hour contracts will simply be forced out of work altogether and onto the dole. Way more people will be in this situation than will gain a secure job.

    The author fails to mention that last point.

  5. It would massively hurt retail, catering, tourism etc. What minimum do they propose?

  6. @PF July 9, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    Wouldn’t work for gardeners, window cleaners… hospitality sector… gumtree jobbers, prostitutes….

  7. Pcar

    Whatever isn’t B2B is B2C. Same principle. And whether a Ltd or different, the person “offering” is looking to act as a supplier. What else is a gardener or a window cleaner in any case, they are not (usually) your employee and nor would you want them to be? Unless I’ve misunderstood you?

  8. For prostitutes, Pcar, all men would be forced to guarantee them a minimum number of working hours per week, whether our wives like it or not. We’d also have to buy artwork so that artists, irrespective of talent, were guaranteed a minimum income.

  9. When I was at uni most of the students preferred zero hour contracts. Work when they were free, not work so many hours when assignments due or even not work at all for a couple of weeks.
    The flexibility works both ways.

    Guy down the road from me is on a zero hours contract. He is a carer for his wife.
    Some weeks she is more able and he asks for more hours, some weeks she is less able and he asks for less hours. And some weeks she needs a lot more care and he doesn’t work for a week or two.
    Flexibility that employees cannot hope to get on fixed hours.

    And yes, some would choose to go for limited company ownership in order to contract with clients. Cost to do that is around £500 to £1000 a year. Just build it into the cost – rather than an employer paying £8.21 an hour they’d be billed say £100 for an 8 hour day. So more expensive for the employer, more expensive for the worker and less tax to the government….

  10. @DocBud
    I’ve seen people seriously propose something similar for struggling authors. No doubt there are people who have argued it for artists and musicians.

  11. ‘This will enable more people to have access to secure jobs with decent working hours and opportunities for progression.’

    Access? ACCESS? WHAT A LYING SACK OF SHIT.

    It creates NOTHING! IT KILLS JOBS. The shits who kill jobs get no credit for whatever follows.

  12. Don’t worry, Tim. You will have access to secure jobs with decent working hours and opportunities for progression, via hokus pokus fvcking magic.

    Whether you want it or not. Yeah, you just wanted to make a little money writing articles. Verboten! Now, only full time employees, with opportunites for progression, can write articles.

  13. How much of the 0 hours growth is down to the amount of red tape and employment rights involved in actually employing people these days, maybe make it easier and there will be less 0 hour contracts, though now they have become a feature of the economy they aren’t going to disappear.
    That said casual staff have been a feature of lots of areas for a long time and used to deal with changing demand and often a good route to retirement

  14. If we are talking about individuals you can’t put them in a service company to avoid zero hours unless the truly are self employed. HMRC is about to clamp down on this, placing more emphasis on companies to confirm that there contractors meet the relevant tests.

    Companies now offer annualised hours contracts and the annual hours are sufficiently low to ensure you are not stuck with staff you don’t need week to week.

  15. I think what they object to is contracts that promise zero hours, but specify that you have to work if called to. Those contracts are very asymmetric in the employers favour.

    That’s different from freelancing, because you don’t have to supply work if you don’t want to. Of course a freelancer who turns down work too often will find that they no longer get offers.

    The issue isn’t “zero hours” as such. That’s emotive nonsense. It’s ones where the obligation is one-way.

  16. I sneeze in threes – however they could have their own limited company in which case a business can contract with the company for services.
    No self employment involved – the person is an employee of the limited company.

    Annualised hours means the employer is stuck with staff they have to pay for whether wanted or not.
    I was a full time worker for a few years on annualised hours. The employer was stuck with a load of staff when it lost 2 big contracts, had to make a chunk redundant. If they had some on zero hours contracts the effect would have been a lot less on the employer.

  17. the vast majority of people on zero-hours contracts want out

    Citation needed. And a better one than the 35 people these two dripping-wet lefties interviewed for their bullshit high school sociology project.

  18. You may note that she is a solicitor, not a Barrister. Banning ZHC will get rid of all barristers not employed by DPP or some large corporation.

  19. Who is the most biased BBC presenter? Who, in your opinion, is the most biased [from these four] the BBC’s leading news and current affairs presenters?

    You vote

    Only four? What about Adie, Bruce, Coburn, Orla Guerin, Kuenssberg, Humphries, Neil, Smith

    meh

  20. You may note that she is a solicitor, not a Barrister. Banning ZHC will get rid of all barristers not employed by DPP or some large corporation.

    I expect that Parliament, composed of lawyers, will find a way around that.

  21. It’ll have to, Rob.

    At the moment, with ZHC – aka self-employment – the government via public funding monopolises some legal work. And it gets a very good deal thereby. Work is paid well below commercial rates, there are no pension liabilities, no sick or holiday pay, structural costs are to some extent pushed onto workers – aka barristers – and the court estate can be run down with an impunity which couldn’t work with actual employees who’d refuse to attend offices if the toilets did not work.

    Abolish ZHC, and all of those advantages would be lost.

    Then again, parliament could just abolish public funding – which would be my preferred option.

  22. BniC,

    “How much of the 0 hours growth is down to the amount of red tape and employment rights involved in actually employing people these days, maybe make it easier and there will be less 0 hour contracts, though now they have become a feature of the economy they aren’t going to disappear.”

    It’s really more about a couple of other things: a) how some people want to work and b) technology.

    Cineworld use zero-hours staff and that means they can get students when it suits them. Need to do a large essay? Don’t work, then work a couple of evenings.

    One thing all anti-zero hours people should remember is that NO-ONE WANTS EMPLOYEES. None of us employ our garage man, plumber or car mechanic. We give him cash to do work and that’s the same for companies. The only reason they have employees is so you don’t go and work somewhere else. You’re locked in to working for them to get guaranteed supply.If companies can do that any other way (like using the market of suppliers) they nearly always do.

    These people are frankly living in the past. Get a job, work there for 40 years, get a nice pension, promotions for time served etc etc.

  23. What amazes me is that people seem to think zero-hour contracts are something new. If anything they are the norm. Think people standing at the gates of factories/the docks hoping to be picked to work that day. Even Jesus told parables about zero hour contractors with the landowner able to arbitarily choose how much to pay them for their work.

    Zero hours aren’t the problem, as people have said if their are restrictions on the employee (e.g. must work offered hours, can’t work at competitors) then either the employer should guarantee a standby wage, or the terms should be banned

  24. The Mole,

    One of the reasons for the decline in employment in some areas is the cost of communication. If you ran a cinema, it was just simpler to have employed usherettes and maybe a couple of part-timers on weekends.

    But cinema really prefers to have lots of flexibility. Avengers: Endgame comes out and every weekend screening is packed for weeks? You need to put a few more staff on the popcorn stand and collecting tickets. And with cellphones and internet, you can manage rostering more flexibly. Send text messages out, or have a system where staff tick to say they want to work tomorrow.

    You see this with software. Sites asking for bids on freelance work, or just people on twitter asking around in a particular skill pool looking for someone with some Typescript for just a few days work. It radically alters freelance vs full-time.

  25. Banning zero hours contracts is like imposing rent controls. A nice idea which the left can use to hoodwink their followers who have been de-educated so that they don’t analyse it. But like rent controls it actually makes things worse if implemented.

  26. Something that occured to be in that mind-fugue while driving this afternoon.
    Workers’ ownership of the means of production means abolition of employment.
    Banning zero-hours contracts means abolition of non-employment.
    Argh! Brain not think work.

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