Articles - 14th April 2020

Why UnderPinned and the Government are working together to end poor payment practices

Words by Albert and Jack


It is one of the statistics that the UnderPinned team most commonly find themselves scratching their head over. Campaigns have been set up to combat it, the Government works consistently to combat it, it is bad for the economy, and it is bad for workers of all kinds. 

This statistic reflects the amount of freelancers and small businesses that are consistently paid late by their clients. On top of that, 55% of freelancers and small businesses have not been paid for previous work completed. 

At all. 

This is not a situation, as UnderPinned has been pushing for almost the entirety of our existence, that can be allowed to continue. Whether it is the disorganisation of the businesses that are hiring or their intended malevolence, this is a problem that is not only disproportionately bad, but is getting worse. 

In 2018, payments were on average 12 days later than the contractual date agreed. This has increased to 23 days. 23 days on top of the standard 30 days that most freelancers have in their contracts is a huge amount of time in the life of a business of any size, and this shows. According to the FSB, 50,000 businesses in the UK alone went out of business due to late payment of invoices. That can’t be allowed to continue. 

UnderPinned has been fighting this badly on two sides; culturally and infrastructurally. These two sides show in a lack of existing tools for businesses to organise their departments to get money owed out on time, and a lack of positive culture around late payments born out of a lack of information and support from government for the payees. 

UnderPinned has created a large portion of its tools just to counteract this problem. We even named this section “Getting Paid”, which is about as subtle as it deserves to be. Contracts are a main theme of this, but our invoicing system also works to make payment easier for businesses and freelancers. We also write regularly about how to change the culture around payments.

So, when we were approached by the Small Business Commissioner and offered the chance to co-write this White Paper, we lept at the opportunity. Involving the government in this issue that needs interaction from everyone it affects is the route that will lead to a solution that works, not just for freelancers and small businesses, but for the industries that rely on them and the businesses that hire them. 

We will continue to work with the government and the SBC in order to ensure that steps are taken to solve this problem and many others for our community. 

You can read the White Paper here

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