Are you a freelancer or do you know a freelancer? Did you know that freelancers are the only people in Europe who can quite legally be discriminated against, paid substandard wages, and be denied work based on their age, gender, sex, religion, creed, race, or national origin?
We do not often think about it, but our protections in these areas are all based on the notion of employment.
The European Freelancers Week has seen the impact that this has on freelancers and wants to bring this to the attention of policy makers.
Freelancing is still the ‘in thing’
Looking at research, freelancing is still on the rise in Europe. France is seeing a boom, while Germany is experiencing a slump in the profession, and according to the survey the UK and Italy have the highest population of freelancers.
It is estimated that in Europe, a quarter of the digital talent is freelancing (Marketing and Com, Arts and Design, Tech and Data).
However policy, rights, and protection is still a long way off for the freelance folk.
Currently making headlines is the European Union proposals to improve rights for gig workers, and ensuring they have the same protections as employees – however this could mean a reclassification to employees rather than freelancers which seems to rather defeat the point.
Making this move will limit opportunity and innovation rather than protecting the worker. It is lazy policy. Forging such policies – or any policies – without thoroughly consulting the parties concerned or having a deep understanding of the field, will certainly cause innumerable knock-on effects throughout the industry.
In a recent survey done with thousands of gig workers in Europe, 80% said freelancing is their lifestyle choice with freedom, flexibility, and innovation being the biggest motivation. In addition 90% of this same pool of respondents are happy being a freelancer.
The #EFWeek manifesto, crafted and reviewed annually by members and supporters of the European Freelancers Week, is at the center of our celebration.
This is the seventh year that we bring everyone with interest and connection to the freelancing ecosystem together where we push for recognition of freelancers in the European economy, and insist that they be treated as the freelancers that they are – not treated “as if” they were something else.
Our manifesto highlights several important policy considerations for European freelancers:
- Recognition: Appoint an envoy to be an interlocutor in the EU institutions and consult the relevant representatives before making policy that affects freelancers.
- Definition: Revise the Small Business Act for Europe (or other suitable upcoming legislative texts) to give relevance and outline the characteristics of freelancers in accordance with their definition.
- Regulation: Adapt the SME Test and Think Small First approach to freelancers and to self-employment, with thresholds and exemptions as applicable.
- Access: Stringent implementation of Art. 49 TFEU on ‘the right to take up and pursue activities as self-employed’, and the regular evaluation in the economic governance process – notably the European Semester and the Country Specific Recommendations.
- Counting: Setting up Experts Groups (DG Grow / Eurostat) to regularly count freelancers in Europe with up-to-date categories and criteria to measure work rather than just jobs.
- Coworking: Establishing relationships with coworking spaces and networks to launch and nurture programs for small business and freelancers with the examination and adoption of the principles of the 15 Minute City.
Add your name and join our cause
When you consent to add your name, the European Coworking Assembly, our coordinators, along with their partners, take this petition to various government entities to translate it into political action.
By joining us, we amplify the calls and put pressure on the decision-makers.
By joining us, you agree that freelancers need to be:
- Given a voice,
- Called by name,
- Granted access,
- Counted, and
Another way you can contribute…
#EFWeek2022’s theme is Freelancers: we are the drivers of the economy – and you are invited to plan an event or submit already planned events from 14 – 21 October, that celebrates freelancers and collaboration, encourages dialogue and propels change!
Add them to this Google Form, where it will then be loaded to the European Freelance Week website, shared on social as well as in our newsletters to our freelance community.
Make use of the save-the-date banners on your socials to remind your followers to attend the session.
View the full list of 2022 #EFWeek events on our website or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn for more.