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GBM deal gives Hermes couriers guaranteed hourly, plus holiday, pay

Hermes has struck a deal with its 15,000 couriers, giving them the option to become “self-employed plus”. This will allow them to receive holiday pay and guaranteed earnings, for the first time. These pay rates will ensure a minimum cap of £8.55 per hour.

It’s a big win for Unions who have been fighting for better self-employment rights. Hermes couriers’ entitlement of the national minimum wage, as well as holiday pay, was ruled by a tribunal in Leeds last June. Hermes’ decision to strike a deal means that these rights will be implemented later this year.

The general secretary of the GMB, Tim Roach, has said on the matter: “Full credit to Hermes. They’re showing that the gig economy doesn’t have to be an exploitative economy. Other employers should take notice, this is how it is done.”

Small pensions mean that 4.8 million self-employed individuals will be retiring at age 79

When do you plan on retiring? Maybe haven’t even thought about it. Well, statistics show that neither have millions of other self-employed people. Multiply, a financial planning app, surveyed 1,000 self-employed people, with ages spanning from 25-40. T

hey found that if these individuals continue to “save” at their current rate, they will not be able to retire until they’re almost 80, because they won’t have enough money to. Many revealed they weren’t saving any money for retirement at all.

There are a few things that being employers automatically for you: putting money into a pension is one of them. This means that most employed people put money into their pension every month. It’s very important that freelancers also follow suit and start to save a portion of their earnings, as soon as they become freelance.

To put things into perspective, the average person expects they’ll need £32,270 a year for their retirement, and the average person’s pension is £50,000.

Most of those surveyed blamed not having a pension on the unpredictable pay influx from freelancing. 68% believe the government aren’t proving freelancers with enough help or instruction, in regards to planning for retirement.

The Department for Work and Pensions is looking into getting self-employed people to take part in pension auto-enrolment in the future to help freelancers set retirement plans in place more easily.

Pension alternatives

The Ipsos MORI report found that a big turnoff for freelancers, with regards to saving money for retirement, is the inability to remove money from a pension in case of emergencies. Pensions may offer tax incentives, but they do not allow individuals to remove any money until the age of 55.

ISAs, therefore, are deemed a better option by many because they provide interest, as well as a sense of security if times get tough. The Lifetime ISA can be accessed earlier than retirement age, albeit with an exit penalty. But it allows freelancers to put away money with the intention of saving for their pension, whilst retaining the freedom to withdraw funds beforehand if desired.

More self-assessors than ever before have met the tax deadline

Worries that a large portion of self-assessed workers were going to fail to meet the tax deadline of Midnight January 31st seem to have been over-exaggerated, with 94% of forms turned in on time.

While a not-insignificant 700,000 failed to reach the deadline, and thus incurred the automatic £100 fine, this seems to point to the idea that most self-assessed taxpayers strongly recognise the importance of paying their taxes on time.

HMRC has reached out to any other freelance or self-employed workers who have missed the deadline, making it clear that the government body is not trying to rob them, but are only trying to help.

Research from Worksome shows that businesses need to make an effort to change their perspective on freelance work before the talent pool becomes severely limited by Brexit. Business Matters reports that Brexit will complicate the workforce requirements and labour availability in the coming months.

Hiring freelancers will also help businesses come up with ways to work around and with Brexit changes, and to do so without the financial risk usually applied to hiring full-time staff.

In the era of publication liquidation, journalists often find themselves at mercy to the gig economy

In another example of a need to change legislation around employment, Sky has written on a group of journalist who were negatively affected by the liquidation of several magazines, such as The Pool in December 2018.

This recent decline in journalism from 23,000 full-time journalists in 2007 to 17,000 in 2017, is a direct reflection of the failure of advertisement money going back to publications, and instead going to facebook or google.

But what’s to say that journalism is worthy of saving and retail shopping is not? There are arguments about democracy. But a large factor of a successful democracy is that everyone has work that allows them to maintain a consistent livelihood.

Becoming a TV presenter for the BBC comes with a hefty loss in money and benefits

BBC TV presenters were offered the chance to be “a shining star at the BBC” if they agreed to becoming self-employed. Lord Hall of Birkenhead, the BBC’s director general, admits that he gave job offers without sick pay, maternity leave, holiday pay or pension rights.  

By essentially forcing their staff to be self-employed, the BBC shifted its tax requirements from the business and on to its employees. Anne Bulford, the Outgoing Deputy Director General, claims that the BBC saved £2-3 million by making these changes. However, Lord Hall told MPs: “It’s not about reducing a tax bill, it is about being absolutely clear of the employment status, for tax purposes, of our staff.”

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