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How the coronavirus is impacting freelance workers

Image via Unsplash

Words by Helena Bammant

Freelancers are banding together and calling on the government to help.

As coronavirus (COVID 19) begins to spread around Australia, the financial pressures being placed on freelance workers, sole traders and small businesses are concerning, to say the least. 

The pandemic is forcing increasing numbers of people to self-isolate, but what does this mean for the self-employed? Full-time employees at large companies across the country are transitioning to a home-working environment with relative ease, but with over 120 professions classed as “freelance”, there is considerable uncertainty for the financial future. 

62 per cent of small businesses in this country are sole traders or non-employing businesses, yet in the stimulus package designed to keep small businesses afloat, freelancers will receive no specific support.

With nearly all large events cancelled, the music, travel, tourism, education and arts sectors have each been negatively impacted. The growing concern surrounding future income will also create hesitancy for new clients, threatening the quota of clients needed for freelance workers to stay afloat. 

A petition started by Rebekah Lambert, founder of The Freelance Jungle and Unashamedly Creative, is advocating for better protection and requesting financial support from the Australian Government during this economic turndown.

Rebekah is calling on the government to fulfil freelancer’s immediate needs. This includes extending the fund of $1 billion that’s been set aside for specific economic groups to include the arts, travel and tourism industry, providing access to safety payments, looking at the income qualifications for the immediate 30 days as opposed to quarterly or yearly earnings, and providing support and access to programs to offset the impacts of poor cash flow during the downturn.

You can find more information about the campaign and sign the petition here

 

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