The Independent: Half of musicians suffer sexual harassment at work, damning report claims

About half of musicians have been forced to endure sexual harassment in the workplace, a new study has found.

The Musicians’ Union, which represents more than 30,000 musicians working across the industry, found that 85 per cent of victims did not report the harassment.

Researchers said their silence was predominantly due to the “culture of the industry”.

Almost two-thirds of performers considered themselves more vulnerable to such treatment because they were freelance workers rather than on permanent employees, the research found.

Some 90 per cent of the Music Union’s members work on a freelance basis. Only one in five of those surveyed for the study said their contracts contained procedures to handle sexual harassment.

The Musicians’ Union, who polled 725 musicians for the research, is urging the government to “urgently review” how it safeguards freelancers, in particular by broadening the Equality Act 2010.


The Times: Freelance workers get a longawaited mortgage boost

The gig economy has increased in size by 48 per cent since 2001, from 3.3 million to now 4.8 million. Finally, many freelancers are now able to secure a mortgage.

Due to the April 2014 clamp down on banks for irresponsible lending, freelancers weren’t able to secure loans to buy homes. But now, lenders, such as Tipton, HSBC, Barclays, Together and Halifax, are starting to become more flexible and cater to those with zero hour contracts.

“A growing number will consider one year’s accounts as evidence of income, which is a far cry from the historic standard request for two or even three year’s accounts,” says broker Nick Morrey of John Charcol.

However, freelancers with a fluctuating income are still likely to pay a higher rate for a home loan.


The Financial Times: Women going freelance face bigger gender pay gap  

Many women turn to a freelance career in order to escape from the male-dominated hierarchy of office life. However, the gender gap might be larger in the world of freelancing, according to a study undergone by IPSE. 

Katia Segers, a member of the Flemish parliament and the Belgian senate, says: “In today’s modern economy, what you see is more young people starting out as independent or freelance workers developing “slash careers” [simultaneous jobs].

 “Then, of course, the gap is huge because they don’t belong to a company [that] would be forced to publish their wage figures.” 

According to the OECD, women who are starting their own business are attracting less funding than men, and therefore female founders are suffering.

“Female entrepreneurs often have lower levels of capital and are more reliant on owner equity and insider financing than men, and women typically face greater challenges in accessing loans and debt financing,” said the OECD in a 2017 report, adding that much of this was driven by gender discrimination.


Daily Mail: Just a quarter of new mothers are in full-time work or are self-employed within three years of having a baby, study finds

The research, based on a state-funded survey, said women suffer economically because of childbirth, adding that in the five years after a baby is born fathers were found to be twice as likely to win promotion or find a better job than mothers.

The figures, from the Understanding Society survey, clash with estimates published by the Office for National Statistics earlier this year, which said almost a third (31.1 per cent) of mothers of children under two are in full-time work.

But the society’s data shows only 27.8 per cent of women are in full-time work or are self-employed three years after childbirth, compared to 90 per cent of new fathers.

It added that while 26 per cent of men achieve promotion or a better job within five years of having a child, the level is only 13 per cent for women. 

The findings, based on the lives of 2,281 new mothers over three years and 1,199 over the first five years of parenthood, underline successive governments’ failures to encourage mothers back into work. 


This is Money: ‘Stop Deliveroo and the gig economy dragging us back to the Victorian era’: Ex-Sainsbury’s chief Justin King issues a stark warning on jobs

King, one of Britain’s most prominent business leaders after reviving the fortunes of Sainsbury’s during a decade in charge, is particularly alarmed by the employment practices adopted by fast-growing digital firms such as Amazon and Deliveroo.

He says many of these companies have fuelled poor working contracts, undermined the economy and driven social resentment. 

Warehouses run by online shops Amazon and Asos have been criticised by campaigners who have also targeted those run by traditional retailers such as JD Sports and Sports Direct.

In one recent rebuke, dismissed by Amazon as ‘misinformation’, the online giant was accused of failing to allow workers sufficient time to go to the toilet or for pregnant women to take breaks. 

At the extreme, some firms now force people to work for themselves – rather than on contracts – with few fringe benefits and no safety net at all. Uber, the taxi firm, and Deliveroo, the deliveries giant, have both drawn fire. 


The Register: UK tech freelancer numbers down for the first time in 5 years since IR35 tax reforms hit public sector

After a boom in IT contractors over the last decade, the number of freelance techies working in the UK dropped last year in the wake of public sector off-payroll working reforms.

According to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, there was a 2.4 per cent fall in IT contractors to 121,989 in 2018 compared with the previous year.

Following the impact of IR35 reforms in the public sector, many contractors have been moved into permanent roles or umbrella companies, said contractor accountancy firm Access Financial, which made the ONS submission.

The IR35 rules ensure that individuals who work alongside PAYE staff pay similar income tax and national insurance contributions as employees. However, as contractors, they are not entitled to the same holiday and sick pay benefits.

Over the last 10 years, the number of IT contractors has grown on average by 8 per cent per year-on-year, from around 75,000 in 2009, according to the data. The only drop in that period was in 2014.


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