Sick pay holds sway for small businesses

UK freelancers and micro-business owners have revealed that they value sick pay above any other statutory pay-related benefit. A poll of nearly 900 UK micro-business owners and freelancers found that self-employed workers valued sick pay provision the most ahead of other benefits including pension auto-enrolment, maternity pay and job seekers’ allowance.

The findings

The findings were the result of a collaboration between the cloud accounting software firm FreeAgent and the Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA), an industry organisation whose members provide professional support services to freelancers and contractors. A major concern to emerge from the research included how more than three-quarters (76%) of respondents did not currently have any method of providing sick pay, maternity/paternity leave, holiday or redundancy pay in their business.   Projected across the country’s 5.2 million-strong self-employed/micro-business sector, this potentially equates to millions of people working without the same kind of basic entitlements that employed workers enjoy. Respondents’ appetites for additional benefits varied depending on the structure of their business, with sole traders rating sickness provision more highly than those working through their own limited company.

In addition, the survey revealed that more than a third (35%) of respondents did not currently have any plans in place to fund their retirement.

“For many people who work for themselves, self-employment is a career choice and those who choose it know that this way of working does not come with statutory benefits,” said Julia Kermode, the FCSA’s chief executive. “However, it is clear from our research that many have not made appropriate provisions to cover benefits that employees receive,” she warned.
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