The #EFWeek Freelancers Manifesto aims to bring focus to the need for governments, businesses, and other stakeholders in the European economy to grapple actively with the changing face of work.
It is important that policy be made, contracts created, and the work be done to incorporate the innovative approaches and solutions being developed every day to the rapid changes we are facing – and much of this work is being initiated and developed by the millions of freelancers in Europe.
While Independent professionals experience a lack of benefits compared to their working counterparts, this challenge is an unprecedented opportunity to build back better, to speak with one voice about what we want to bring forward with us into the future and what we think is best left in the dust of the path.
A massive change project requires guiding principles and so we have boiled the areas of need down into the following points:
"Give us a voice"
Give us official status at all levels of government and legislation. Talk to our representative organisations and give us a seat at the table.
"Call us by name"
We are highly skilled self-employed workers without employees. We are fixed term contractors, we are the people innovating the models of work with new approaches.Realise that we’re not the same as small and medium size enterprises or other activity categories.
Define freelancers as a specific heterogenous subset of micro enterprises for the purpose of the European SMEs definition.
When you create policy about employment and industry, think about how it will specifically affect freelancers, the smallest among small businesses.
We call for the SME Test and Think Small First approach in impact assessments to be adapted to freelancers and to self-employment, with thresholds and exemptions as applicable.
Produce “Better Regulation” and simplified policy that specifically consider the needs of freelancers.
"Give us access"
Make sure freelancers can access all government services, bid for official contracts, participate in training programs and qualify for funding. Design a welfare system more considerate to freelancers' needs and a portable benefits system for the growing independent workforce.
We call for stringent implementation of Art. 49 TFEU on “the right to take up and pursue activities as self-employed”, to be regularly evaluated in the economic governance process – notably the European Semester and the Country Specific Recommendations.
Create the right incentive structures to ensure freelancers can access work, foreign markets, public procurement, finance, and infrastructures and tax benefits as microbusinesses, and also social security, training, and protection from discrimination, at the same levels and conditions of employees
Include freelancers in all official statistics, and better research our sector. Don’t put us together with other small business categories.
We call for the set up of one Experts Group (DG Grow / Eurostat) to regularly count freelancers in Europe with up-to-date categories and criteria to measure work rather than just jobs.
Make Europe the best place to be a business by building world-class infrastructures for freelancers, making government contracts freelancer-friendly and incentivising the use of shared work spaces.
We call for governments to establish relationships with coworking spaces and networks to launch and nurture programs for small business and freelancers. We call for examination and adoption of the principles of the 15 Minute City.
Recognize independent coworking as the infrastructure and ecosystem of the New Economy and as such critical to solving problems such as economic downturn, and development in rural and suburban areas as well as decongesting cities and minimising the negative climate and social effects of large cities as they are now operated.