Fraudsters target self-employed seeking Covid-19 income support (The Telegraph)

Fraudsters are targeting self-employed workers seeking state aid during the coronavirus crisis with a new tax refund scam.

Lawyers and cyber security experts have warned that freelancers are being disproportionately affected. Con artists have set their sights on those claiming under the self-employed income support scheme, which provides grants to freelancers.

Victims receive a text message purporting to be from HM Revenue & Customs informing them they qualify for a tax refund. They are then led to a website – an almost exact replica of GOV.UK – and asked to fill in personal details, including bank account information. 

 

One in five highly skilled freelancers expect to have to close their business (The Scotsman)

A study involving the University of Edinburgh Business School found that three quarters (74 per cent) of those freelancers had lost income as a result of the Covid crisis, with an average income fall of 76 per cent. As a result, over two thirds (69 per cent) say they now have cashflow problems.

The research, which was conducted in association with IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed), surveyed more than 1,400 freelancers classed as highly skilled.

The overwhelming majority (91 per cent) said they could not access the UK government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), mostly because they work through a limited company. Average stress levels in this group have increased by 80 per cent because of the crisis.

 

BBC freelancers seek furlough as scheme closes to new entrants (Broadcast Now)

With the government’s furlough scheme closing to new entrants tomorrow, a leading employment lawyer has backed freelancers that the BBC has refused to furlough, telling the corporation and government that they are wrong.

The BBC stands by its claim that it received government advice stating that it cannot use the Job Retention Scheme (JRS) for PAYE freelancers who are paid via public service funds.

 

Gig economy workers should be reclassified as ‘independent employees’, says think tank (The Star)

Gig economy workers should be reclassified as “independent employees” as policymakers lack the necessary data on them to form a sound regulatory framework that will provide a more robust social safety net to assist them, says the Research for Social Advancement (Refsa).

The non-profit think tank said, in its report titled “Conceptualising the Gig Economy in Malaysia”, that the gig economy is currently being treated as a separate silo of the economy with its workers facing many social and economic adversities and they are often being exploited by platform providers.

 

Post-Pandemic, the Fashion Industry Will Rely on Freelancers More Than Ever (Business of Fashion)

The fashion industry has long relied heavily on freelancers — like photographers, stylists, creative directors, designers, writers, event planners, pattern-makers and product developers — to design, produce, manufacture, shoot, market and sell garments.

The industry — including its treatment of self-employed workers — is unlikely to transform overnight. The changes required to secure better workers’ rights for freelancers are largely legislative, which can take many months to come to fruition.