Sick Days

Sick days when you’re freelance don’t seem to exist. You quote a price for some work then you deliver the goods. Failure to deliver saying you were sick isn’t a valid argument since the deadline is still there regardless of your physical health. A freelance is contracted to deliver, and deliver they must. After all isn’t that why they’re paid so much?

Charging people for services is a tricky thing. Unless you’re dealing with a fellow freelance most people don’t appreciate just how much things cost. They see their own take-home pay and assume their employer will sort out holiday pay, pensions, and sick cover. That same employer sorts out furniture and utility bills for said employee as well as all the machinery and equipment for them to get the job done. These things are magically done by their employer and as such, they see their hourly rate of pay and expect me to match that because… well… why should I have more because I’m freelance? Who am I to demand more than them?

Well, in actuality, I have less. I have to think about paying for my own workspace, own office own equipment. I have to pay for my own workplace insurances, pensions, sick pay, holiday pay. I have to spend hours putting together the work you want done with no-one to cover for me if I’m sick.

Imagine that. You’re sick and have to have the day away from work. Your boss calls you and asks you to pay back the days wages he’s paying you. Oh, and can you find a replacement to do your job for you? You’re out of pocket just by being sick and stressed up to the eyeballs just because you now can’t balance the bills at the end of the month. Yep, you’re guaranteed to get complications with pay arriving on time because you happened to get a cold on a Monday.

Well that’s what it’s like as a freelance. I’m having a sick day because I haven’t slept for 24hours thanks to my brain running out of my nose at 90mph and I’m already £30 out of pocket just through having to rearrange a few jobs and cancel a few others. Invoices to the tune of £1600 still haven’t turned up in my account and I’m in no fit state to chase them today. The workers rights we have by law are difficult to implement when you’re a sole trader. I have the right to be bottom of the pecking order as far as these rights are concerned. I have to smile, and wait, and hope, that someone else’s boss will understand and that someone somewhere will give me a fair deal.

So. Woe is me. A box of tissues in one hand, pills in the other, and the determination to get back to it all as quickly as possible. After all, those emails for potential new work aren’t going to answer themselves, and the knock-on effect of leaving new clients waiting could see this sick day costing far more…

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2 thoughts on “Sick Days

  1. Yup. I’ve had that thrown at me many times. I smile sweetly (which with me is like being smiled at by a snake) and ask them how much their public and professional liability insurances cost them; how much they pay their employer to lease their office, furniture, telephone, computer, heating, lighting, water; how much they pay for their stationery, Internet access, postage ….. at that point they usually shut up and agree my price.

  2. The sticky thing always come when you holiday or sick pay. They usually assume you can have holidays whenever you want. Obviously paying for these things with the megabucks they’ve just paid you… two months late.

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