It's time to talk about Freelancer rights.

Posted on 04 Oct 2021 13:06 in Freelancers & Digital Nomads
by Zainab Sohangpurwala

Many businesses exploit freelancers all around the world. There is a growing demand for Freelancer rights so that corporations do not take them for granted. Continue reading to learn more about the rights of freelancers.

The workers of the world united and fought for their rights such as basic protection, minimum wages, working hours, working conditions among others. Due to the hard work of countless worker's unions and workers who fought without the fear of getting fired has the movement for worker's rights has been so successful.


Mostly, all countries have worker's rights and protection. Worker's rights and human rights have now become intertwined with each other. Rights such as suitable working conditions, equal pay for men and women workers, are a prerequisite for enjoying other social, political, and economic rights.


Even after huge strides towards achieving worker's rights, there are many disparities faced by men and women workers in different countries.


Rise of Freelancers 
Due to globalization and the growth of the internet people now can work from every nook and corner of the world. This has led to people shifting away from traditional 9 to 5 jobs towards freelancing. Due to freelancing, they have become their boss. They are ‘free’ in certain respects and are not committed to a particular place of work. Freelancers are self-employed!


Freelancing has various advantages but very few countries recognize the rights of freelancers. 


What are freelancer rights?
Freelancers do not enjoy a wide variety of rights that are enjoyed by a full-time employee such as health insurance, pensions, minimum wages, etc. But they do have rights that need to be given recognition by the government. 


It is a must to know your rights as a freelancer. They include the right to control your work schedule, right to adequate payment, copyrights, and other rights as stipulated in your contracts with your clients.  


Various countries do not recognize freelancer rights. Freelancers have to struggle to make sure that - others do not copy and misuse their work, they receive timely payments, clients do not harass them, and they get recognized for their work.


Copyright issues faced by freelancers 
Various companies get their work such as product photography, blogs, voiceovers, and other work done by freelancers but publish it as their work.


Most freelancers are unaware that their work is being published even without getting recognition. If freelancers do not sign an agreement with the companies they might run scot-free. 


Hence freelancers should get their work licensed. So even if someone claims it to be theirs you can take legal action against them. If you have a license then you are the boss and you can regulate the way your work gets published, where it gets published, to whom, and in which form. 


One can also get Intellectual Property rights for their work. 


Many freelancers such as artists, photographers, filmmakers get their work licensed because in today's digital era it takes 2 minutes to share someone else's work on social media and claim it to be yours.


Which countries protect the rights of freelancers?
Very few countries provide freelancer rights, the most important being the USA. Various unions, most importantly the Freelancers Union, are fighting for the rights of freelancers in the USA. 


The Freelance Isn't Free Act passed in New York City in 2017 was a landmark victory in this fight. It enshrines the right of freelancers to be paid for their work in law. This law helps protect freelancers from harassment or discrimination. In January 2021 Minneapolis enacted its version of this act. Los Angeles is also on the verge of passing its bill of protections for freelancers. 


This is a huge step and the Freelancers Union plans on legitimizing Freelancers rights in every state of the USA and then in various other countries of the world. 


Why do laws need to be made to protect freelancers?
As freelancers have different clients and do not work in a company, many people take them for granted. 


Clients do not pay adequately for the work done or at times break the contract agreed between them. According to research, about  71% of freelancers have dealt with nonpayment from a client who reaps the benefit of the freelancer’s hard work but never pays for it. 


Freelancers have also lost countless hours chasing late invoices, sending follow-up after follow-up, worrying about appearing pleasant enough to win more work while being stern enough to get results.


If you are a freelancer I am sure you relate to these issues. 


Hence laws need to be made so that people take freelancers more seriously. The threat of legal procedures and actions deters people from breaking contracts. 


Apart from the USA- UK, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines, Canada are the countries with growing freelancer markets. Freelancers in these countries should unite and put forward their issues to their respective governments so that their voices are heard.


Only if we present a united front will our rights be legitimized!  




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About the author

Zainab Sohangpurwala     
Passionate about helping companies grow their business via content marketing.

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