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To wonder if you are freelance whether your clients think they 'employ' you?

(21 Posts)
RunAlexRun Sun 07-Apr-19 17:07:35

I do some freelance sales and marketing work but am gobsmacked, and fed up, at the amount of clients that think I am an employee and that they own me.

I recently agreed to do four hours, twice a week, at a company's office and they tried to treat me as an employee, saying that the office manager was my 'Line Manager' and trying to dictate when I could have toilet breaks etc. When the work ended the company owner sent me an email saying it'd been a delight to employ me!!

I also did another freelance job, from home, where the company tried to dictate the hours that I did their work in, rather than leaving me the task for the agreed timescale.

I could go on and on!

EleanorOalike Sun 07-Apr-19 17:22:28

I work freelance 3 hours a week for one company at the moment for crappy pay. I’m always being contacted whilst at my main place of employment and on my day off I’m expected to put in telephone contact of more than an hour, unpaid, with the freelance gig plus several emails a day. It’s doing my head in. They are also trying to insist on me doing long courses (Mon-Fri) for my “professional development” which aren’t related to my field of work and for which I’d have to take an entire week off, unpaid if it would be granted, from my actual employment. 3 hours a week tops and they seem to think they own me! Drives me up the wall.

JaniceBattersby Sun 07-Apr-19 17:25:25

Eleanor if they ask you to work outside of your hours then just drop them an email saying you’ll invoice them at the agreed rate. The whole point of freelancing is that you forgoe the benefits of employment (holiday pay, legal protection etc) to be able to set your own hours and rates of pay.

I’m pretty sure male contractors don’t put up with this shit half as much as women do.

RunAlexRun Sun 07-Apr-19 17:58:08

So many companies seem to have such a high opinion of themselves! And I totally agree, male freelancers probably don't get half the shit that female ones do!

checkoutchick22 Sun 07-Apr-19 18:29:41

There a big case a while ago about a self employed guy winning a massive payout, as his argument was, he was treated like an employee with none of the perks.
He got awarded the holiday pay he would have had, if he'd been employed.
I'm sure that since then there is a case for self employed people, to protect them. The Company must not stipulate your working hours, tell you when to have a break or expect unpaid overtime.
Maybe worth looking into and knowing your rights

sportinguista Sun 07-Apr-19 18:37:24

I don't do regular work onsite, I only ever do it for 1 client and odd times, they work in the same trade and know the score with freelancers. I don't think any of my clients think they 'employ' me, to them I'm a supplier. A couple of my clients are also suppliers for me so it could be said I employ them. I would be reluctant to do onsite work as I originally became freelance so I don't ever have to cope with office politics and all that crap!

flowery Sun 07-Apr-19 18:38:35

”I’m expected to put in telephone contact of more than an hour, unpaid, with the freelance gig plus several emails a day.”

Er, just say no? Or invoice them at your hourly rate for your time?

EleanorOalike Sun 07-Apr-19 18:40:45

I’m packing it in soon. When I add in travel time and tax and all the extra time it’s less than minimum wage.

adviceneeded0101 Sun 07-Apr-19 18:55:30

I work as an agency (but am basically freelance) and actually do a million things to try and Stop this but it still happens.

I’ve found that adding things into contracts that limit time on phone, and lay out exactly my hours works

Feel free to pm me

chaoscategorised Sun 07-Apr-19 19:04:55

No suggestions but I feel your pain - am currently chasing payment for work I turned around three times quicker than anticipated because a client threw a strop that it wouldn't be done when they wanted it (i.e. within a time frame where I'd be working my contracted hours at my main job, which they've known about since I started working with them two years ago) - lucky for them, and because they're a long standing client, I pulled some flexitime cos I could, got the job done and changed them my rush rate, now they're dragging their heels on paying the extra as 'it's my job'. No pal, it's not, I told you'd I'd be charging you my rush rate and moving things around for it, and you agreed, so pay up.

Gth1234 Sun 07-Apr-19 19:09:32

It's not to do with hours worked, it's more to do with what the job entails. You aren't freelance/self employed just because you say you are.

IWannaSeeHowItEnds Sun 07-Apr-19 19:14:05

I don't get that Gth. Surely freelance is about tax status, having no employment rights but also no responsibility beyond meeting the terms of your specific agreement.

Gth1234 Sun 07-Apr-19 19:17:05

You can be an employee while working just a few hours. It depends on the nature of the particular agreement. That's why just saying you are freelance isn't enough. That's the argument that the BBC are getting with their service company workers.

Hadalifeonce Sun 07-Apr-19 19:34:56

I 'start' the click as soon as I leave home, if I am on the 'phone I include it in my invoice, I don't charge for the odd 5 mins, but if it is much longer or frequent, I charge. I agree the days I will work, either on site or at home. If something urgent requires me to work outside of those hours I charge.
If a client wants something beyond, I discuss it with them and agree a timeframe, I work generally to my own agenda within an agreed time scale. I always make sure my clients know I am working on their behalf, but not for them.

RunAlexRun Sun 07-Apr-19 19:38:44

It's the 'thinking they're in charge of me' that annoys me the most. Such as them stating that one of their staff is my line manager, and then micro managing my time as if they employ me.

ScreamScreamIceCream Sun 07-Apr-19 19:41:50

@RunAlexRun - presumption.

I work with male freelancers and know others in different fields. They get as much shit as I do from companies where some think they own you and can dictate to you, while others do everything in their power to show you aren't an employee.

IWannaSeeHowItEnds Mon 08-Apr-19 07:46:55

Since they aren't your line manager and don't employ you, do you have the conversation with them where you point this out. I'm not saying that they aren't taking liberties here, but perhaps you aren't being clear enough in letting them know the boundaries. If someone tried to tell me they were my line manager and attempted to micro manage my day, I would have a conversation where I told them to bigger off spelled out what freelance means.

The closest I have been to this is years ago when I was working as a child minder. You always come across people who think that is the same as a nanny but cheaper and you do have to spell it out for some that self employed means you offer a service that they choose to use or not and they get billed accordingly. Terms of the contract are mutually agreed, not something they dictate.

SmiledWithTheRisingSun Mon 08-Apr-19 08:00:34

If they are paying you to do a job then if course they are employing you!

It's just not a contract.

RunAlexRun Mon 08-Apr-19 17:44:35

They're not employing me! They don't pay me holiday pay for starters...

flowery Mon 08-Apr-19 18:41:41

If you are working in their office for set hours each week, it is clearly going to 'feel' more like employment to them than if you were providing advice/consultancy remotely, charging by the project rather than by the hour, or similar.

What kind of work is it you're actually doing? That might make a difference as well, as to how they view you/whether they think you need a line manager.

Just because they don't pay you holiday pay and you describe yourself as self-employed doesn't mean you actually are. If the nature of the work/nature of the relationship between the two parties 'looks' like employment, then both HMRC and an employment tribunal are likely to rule that it is employment. Therefore just because they are not paying you holiday pay doesn't mean they shouldn't be... Rather than being in reality self-employed, you might be either a worker or an employee.

Heartlake Mon 08-Apr-19 19:01:39

Absolutely not. I make it clear from the start.

If your clients are like this then you're working for the wring clients.

I'm not being facetious... you just need to work out what your work is worth, set boundaries at the start... and also don't behave like an employee. So you need to be super self-sufficient, probably using your own kit, focus on outputs, don't get too pally with the actual staff.

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