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Half of UK’s freelancers have not been paid for work

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Written by: Emma Lunn
02/08/2019
Four in 10 (41 per cent) of clients hiring freelancers consistently pay late, according to freelancer platform YunoJuno.

A study by the platform found more than half (55 per cent) of freelancers have done work they have not been paid for, but only a third have stopped working for a client who consistently pays late. It found the average late invoice was overdue by two-and-a-half weeks before being paid.

Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of freelancers surveyed admitted to continuing to work for businesses despite outstanding invoices being drastically overdue, with one in 10 freelancers stating they do nothing when a client pays late.

A lack of knowledge about how to deal with late payments was also found. More than half (53 per cent) of all freelancers questioned said they were not aware of their rights when clients don’t pay, with a third (34 per cent) saying they don’t understand how late payment charges work, or know what to charge (this can be avoided by consulting with a small business accountant).

One in five (20 per cent) admitted they don’t feel confident enough to enforce late payment charges, because they are worried about the possible repercussions of being seen to chase clients.

Only seven per cent of freelancers add late payment charges to contracts, yet a quarter (25 per cent) of these admitted never implementing them, but only mentioning them in a bid to nudge for payment.

The research comes after the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) revealed that self-employed workers lose an annual average of 20 days chasing unpaid invoices.

Shib Mathew, CEO at YunoJuno, said: “The culture of late payments needs to stop. Chasing overdue invoices not only wastes time, but causes unnecessary stress and anxiety for freelancers.”

“This research shows that there is not only a lack of care by some clients to pay their workers on time, but there is an underlying fear among the freelancer community that they’ll lose the client, or lose respect, if they chase for their hard-earned money. It’s this latter part that is most worrying.”

“There would be an uproar if a business was late paying staff wages – and the same should be true of freelancers.”

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