A survey by an online platform for freelancers in the UK has revealed that 55% of its freelancer respondents have done jobs they have not been paid for, but only a third have stopped working for a client who consistently pays late.
About 23% of the freelancers surveyed by freelancer platform YunoJuno admitted to continuing to work for businesses despite outstanding invoices being overdue, with one in 10 freelancers stating they do nothing when a client pays late.
The survey also turned up a lack of knowledge about how to deal with late payments. 53% of all the freelancers surveyed said they were not aware of their rights when clients don’t pay, and with 34% saying they do not know how late payment charges work, or how much in late fees to charge.
Only 7% of all freelancers added late payment charges to their contracts, but of these 25% admitted they never implement them, but instead use them to try and encourage prompt payment.
Shib Mathew, CEO at YunoJuno, commented on the findings: “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.”
According to the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE), self-employed workers lose on an average 20 days a year chasing unpaid invoices, and they lost an average of £5,394 a year in 2017 through unpaid work.
But freelancers in the UK are covered by the Late Payment Act of 1998 and they can claim interest on late payments. The freelancer has to go to court, where he or she must be able to prove a contract was in place and that the work was delivered. There is also a union for freelance and independent workers in the UK called Community Union, which says clients pay up 99% of the time when they hear from the union.