Work have asked me to go freelance
I have worked for a small publisher full-time in a senior position for five years. The company is in financial trouble. Two people have left the dept. in the past two months and were not replaced. My boss, who has mental health issues, resigned suddenly last month ? our department is now less than half the size it was in March.
So the top bananas at the co asked us for our ?thoughts about the future? and when I suggested running the dept by outsourcing it to freelancers (typical publishing strategy) they had ?a quiet word? and asked if I wanted to go freelance.
I?d pay less tax, but I?d lose out on hols, sick leave etc etc. And I?d be saving them an extra £4k a year in employers? NI, even if they paid me the same. Also, they need me ? more than ever. So I?m unsure.
The other thing is that me and boss didn?t get on (he lunged and swore at me in one of his rages), for which the top bananas, who are not blessed with wildly high IQs, blamed me. I also caught them discussing me as ?a problem? in full earshot of the whole office. And they wrote me a terribly picky letter about being late twice, when I had already grovelled in person. (No one else got one.)
The freelance market isn?t brilliant right now. But on the other hand, I want to get out. WWYD?
Effectively they are asking you to resign without having to pay you redundancy or risk going through a tribunal.
You have no guarantee they will give you any work and you will have given up all your employment rights - which are substantial after 5 years.
Don't do it. Start looking for another job instead. Better you have a wage coming in than none.
Thanks. Do you think that asking someone to leave like this could be a matter for a grievance? I mean, sounds like one hell of a hint to me. Which I don't really think is fair, to be honest.
Really don't do it - someone I know went freelance on the suggestion of her employers 'oh, you'll have all the work you want, charge more, flexiblility'. She got two days work from them.
Don't think (but no expert) you've got grounds for a grievance over the quiet chat if whole office is discussing future & you made suggestion of freelancers. They might have thought you were sounding them out.
Agree with others only go freelance if you feel there is work out there elsewhere too & are ready to market yourself heavily to other publishers.
Asking someone to leave can be risky, as you could just leave and claim you were forced out by their actions. (Constructive Dismissal)
If they have any sense they will claim that as you raised the freelance option, they were discussing it as way of researching the option to evaluate its viability.
If your not happy look for another role elsewhere - but grass isn't always greener etc.
If things are getting difficult for you then keep a journal recording dates and times of incidents and raise an official greivance (in writing, not a quiet word with a manager). This way if needed you will have a written record of your actions trying to resolve any dispute. This will stand you in good stead if you need to go down the employment tribual route later on.
Apologise in advance for grammer/spelling am doing this one handed whilst feeding baby! - Trying to get my mind back into "work" mode before I return following Mat Leave!
Thanks so much. I have already started recording incidents and written a note to my (now-leaving manager) asking him not to talk about me in full hearing of the office.
And I am looking for another job, take it from me - but it ain't pretty out there. As it happens, I only took this job because I was knackered, never having had a day off freelancing. My plan is to start a freelance assault now in case the firm goes bust, or they hire another threatening loony as my boss.
cory - you clearly know the freelance market fairly well. I have a friend who has been a successful freelance writer (articles and books) for about ten years. His main problem was making sure he got paid by publishers. He sued a lot of people and took no prisoners. There are a lot firms out there ripping off freelancers by not paying up.
Be careful if you do go the freelance route.
MoreBeta - oh, I know the feeling. I am as we speak mourning the loss of several hundred quid for a piece I was asked to write by the editor of a national - still not paid 7 months on. And I had to write it on my birthday.
That's why I'm not so keen to jump into wageless land right now.
Trouble is, if you sue, they don't commission you again.
corygal I'm now in the position of looking at contract work. A couple of things I have realised is:
1. My contract rate will be about double my salary day rate ie all my other non-cash benefits are the same as my old salary.
2. The predations of IR35 mean that my tax position is not that much better than as an employee.
It's all very well to suggest you go freelance, but unless you are genuinely self-employed it could backfire badly against both of you. You would need to prove that you could sub in someone else in your absence, you would be using your own equipment, sorting your own tax/NI etc. and there's usually a qualifiying arguement that you should have more than one client too.
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