I work as a freelancer and regularly work more hours than I charge. Should I charge the same if I work less?
I work for a marketing agency 10 days a month. I am a freelancer and will invoice the agency at the end of the month.
I’m going on a two-week ski vacation in February. Realistically, I probably won’t make up for the time in February, but I often work more than 10 days a month in other seasons.
Should I reduce my February invoice or just settle as usual? And what are my vacation rights in general as a freelancer?
You may have some rights, such as vacation and sick pay, even if you are not fully employed
Will Kirkman of This is Money replies: The answer to your question depends entirely on your employment status. Are you an employee, an independent entrepreneur, a “worker”? What do all these terms mean and how do they affect your vacation entitlement?
Although you say that you are a freelancer, technically, “freelance” has no legal meaning. You can work as a freelancer and at the same time be an employee or contractor.
This is confusing, but it is important to know the difference. If you are an employee, you are entitled to 5.6 weeks of paid leave, in addition to sick pay and maternity leave.
However, if you are a “self-employed entrepreneur” you are not entitled to it, and even if you work more than the hours required, you should not charge a full month of work if you leave on vacation.
Of course, unless you want to risk it and hope no one notices. But do it at your own risk!
What is the difference? Are you employed or self-employed and what is a “worker”?
We asked Kathryn Dooks from Kemp Little what she thought.
Kathryn Dooks, partner in the employment team of the law firm Kemp Little, answers:
This distinction can be difficult to make, but it is important because it also addresses issues such as your tax status and whether you are entitled to other employment rights such as the right to an unfair dismissal claim, sick pay, national minimum wage and Maternity / paternity benefit.
Kathryn Dooks from the law firm Kemp Little
In principle, someone is an employee if:
- There is a “reciprocity of commitment” – for example, if the company is required to work three working days a week and you are required to do three working days a week
- You are required to provide the services in person (i.e. you cannot send a replacement to do some or all of the work for you).
- The company has control over how you do the job and where and when the job is done
A number of other factors are also considered in the legal review of employment status, such as: B. whether you are “integrated” into the company, e.g. B. when the company carries out HR procedures such as assessments and disciplinary procedures.
Also whether you have a financial risk in fulfilling the contract and whether you have a number of other customers so that you are really “in business for your own account”.
Weighing these factors can be difficult. So it’s best to get advice from your specific circumstances.
“Employees” are a special category of people who do not have full employment rights, but who are legally granted a certain minimum level of protection (the main allowance is vacation pay, sick pay and minimum wages).
The term “freelance” has no legal meaning and it is possible that a freelancer is an employee / “employee” or a real self-employed entrepreneur.
It is possible that a freelancer is an employee, a “worker” or a real self-employed entrepreneur
They say that you often work more than 10 days a month in other seasons. In view of this, it may be possible to apply to the agency for additional remuneration for these additional hours.
You may feel a moral obligation to pay you for additional work done. It depends on the terms of your contract. If you are self-employed and it is clear in your contract that you will only be paid for 10 working days per month, the agency is likely to believe that you are delivering the work to you at your own risk and in the manner you have determined which is under your control, making them unlikely to pay you extra.
However, if you’re a freelancer, you may be able to persuade them to pay you for additional hours of work that take longer than 10 days, especially if you go the extra mile on a regular basis.
I would suggest that you try to have an honest and open discussion with the agency about this.