Articles - 28th August 2019

Fiverr offers illegal private eye services, and other news

Words by Emily & Jack

Mortgage lenders give pregnant freelancers a wide berth

A report by online mortgage broker Trussle surveying 2,002 self-employed people found more than half (55%) of women felt they were treated differently when applying for a mortgage when pregnant. One in five felt the lender “unreasonably” asked for documentation clarifying when their maternity leave ended, and 20% of those said they felt their application was treated differently when they couldn’t provide proof.

It is unlawful for a lender to discriminate against a customer on the basis of pregnancy and maternity under the Equality Act 2010, and the Financial Conduct Authority also obliges them to treat all customers fairly. 

A spokesman at Santander said: “Santander requires self-employed customers to supply two years’ worth of accounts when applying for a mortgage. As Mrs Smith was only able to provide 18 months’ worth of accounts, we were unable to accept her income on a mortgage application.”

Legally, all borrowers must disclose any information that may affect their ability to repay their mortgage, but the attitude of many lenders towards pregnant women certainly doesn’t make a compelling case for telling the truth. 


Tax scandal: Iain Duncan Smith demands action after thousands of lives ruined by tax hunt

Over 50,000 contractors and self-employed people might lose their homes as well as their businesses due to a tax scandal that hunts people’s unpaid tax back 20 years.

Iain Duncan Smith, the Former Work and Pensions Secretary, is asking Boris Johnson to put an end to this, announcing that he was “ashamed” of his Government to give HMRC permission to pursue backdated tax from 1999. 

The tax scandal comes as a result of individuals using a scheme that allowed them to take out loans without having to pay tax in the form of National Insurance or income tax.

This is said to have been the cause of five suicides and over 150 MPs have gathered together demanding an urgent review of the Loan Charge scheme.


Freelance Site Fiverr Offers Illegal Private Spying Services

Vice broke the story that freelance platform Fiverr has been illegally hosting offers to spy on your spouse or illegally hire an unlicensed Private Investigator. 

The news highlights how the struggle to moderate content is not limited to large social networks and platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Other sites, like Fiverr, also have trouble policing their platforms.

Fiverr removed the listings offering malware and GPS tracking after Motherboard contacted the company for comment.


Online academy targeting female creatives to launch new freelance course next month 

AllBright Academy is launching a 10-week online course next month to help female creatives at the start of their freelance journey.

The course will consist of five modules that include how to work in a freelance environment, how to build marketing strategies, pitching to clients, time management and managing professional reputations.

The co-founder of AllBright, Anna Jones, said: “AllBright’s aim is to provide women with the tools and the network they need to succeed whether you’re an executive in a firm or working for yourself.

“During my career, I have hired and worked with many freelancers, and we know that many of our members and community form part of this growing group of women who face similar challenges on a daily basis.

“We’re delighted to be offering a programme specifically designed to meet their needs.”


17.9 million people believe the future of work will be flexible

A survey from ETZ Payments has found that 58 per cent of Brits – 17.9 million people – think the most popular method of working in the future will be flexible working. Not only that but it seems clear that the future brings a big swing towards flexible and freelance working, with many valuing the opportunity to have a better work/life balance as well as take more time to embrace hobbies and family time.

Despite common misconceptions, the gig economy is not limited to app-enabled low-skilled workers, but many highly-skilled employees are taking advantage of freelance work. ETZ Payment’s research found that 22 per cent of middle-class workers (ABC1 workers) switched to working freelance from working 9-5 to achieve a better work/life balance, and now feel happier and 48 per cent of middle-class workers found that flexible hours are the most important thing to me when choosing a job.


Spanish Courts Rule Against Deliveroo: ‘Riders Are Not Self-Employed’

Spanish riders have won an important battle this summer to clarify their labour relationship with digital platforms. Two courts in Madrid and Valencia have ruled that Deliveroo riders are subjected to an employment relationship with the British company, giving the reason to the Spanish Ministry of Labor.

At the end of July, a Court of Madrid ruled that the 537 Deliveroo riders working in the Spanish capital between October 2015 and June 2017 were employees operating under a false appearance of self-employed. 

The food delivery company has been condemned to pay the Social Security fees of each rider during the corresponding period.

Deliveroo has already appealed both rulings since they believe that “the sentences do not reflect the way riders collaborate with the company.” However, the victory may set an example for future judicial proceedings regarding riders’ rights.

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