Wednesday, 15 March 2017

The 'benefits' of being self employed

I wonder how many MPs have felt 'The Fear'.  I appreciate that fear comes in many hideous guises, but this particular one is felt by the self-employed, the army of people who, for one reason or another, decide that the best thing for them and their families is to set-up on their own.

I can speak with some experience on this issue - not only am I currently self-employed, my husband has been and my father was too.

In case you're in any doubt, there's not much to recommend it.

Paid holiday?  Forget it.  Paid sick leave - what's that?  Most self-employed people can't afford to be ill, they just have to carry on regardless unless hospitalisation is required.

The constant worry about what work you'll have from one week to the next; pitching for new business, chasing leads; invoicing, then chasing payments; making sure your tax return is always in on time because otherwise it's a £100 fine you just can't afford.  Working strange hours, seven days a week, because that's when the work comes in.

So when it comes to the perceived inequalities that Mr Hammond thinks he's rectifying with the latest Budget, and the idea that somehow the self-employed are better off than those employed by companies but aren't contributing as much, can I just ask exactly how are we better off?

I can only assume that Mr Hammond & co have never been self-employed, or married to somebody who is, otherwise they'd know all about 'The Fear', the pressures and the worries that self-employed people always have, and carry around with them like an unwanted overcoat on a scorching hot summer's day.

Being self-employed is often the only option we have to continue doing the work we enjoy or are trained to do.  We certainly don't do it for an easy life.

When we get 25 days' paid holiday a year, paid sick leave, maternity and paternity leave, perhaps then you can talk to us about the benefits of being your own boss and the inequality of being an employee!

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