Monthly Archives: June 2017

Do you have to put your freelancers into your pension scheme?

Freelance workers based in the UK have a lot of rights but did you know they have a right to join your workplace pension scheme and must be included in your auto-enrolment?

It sounds a bit daft on the face of it, but here is how it goes for workers based in the UK:

  • workers earning less than £5,786 a year have the right to join but you don’t have to make ’employer minimum’ contributions.
  • workers earning £5,786 or more a year have the right to join your workplace pension scheme and you must contribute if they do
  • workers earning £10,000 or more must be automatically enrolled (unless opted out) and you must contribute

My freelancers are self employed

If you’re thinking – what has this got to do with me as my freelancers are all self-employed? – then you could be in for a shock.

Freelancers can be running their own business, but they can also be categorised as workers (or even employees).   Your label on the relationship does not define their status.  Nor does the fact they invoice you, or have other clients, always help. 

If they don’t have a company and are invoicing you in person  there is a risk your freelancer will be categorized as a worker and this may trigger their entitlements.

How to handle freelancers and workplace pensions

  • Check whether they are invoicing you via a company or just using a business name
  • Check the freelancer’s base – are they working from the UK?
  • Check whether you have a written contract with them
  • Get that contract reviewed to establish the status 
  • If no written contract exists (or an out of date one) update it to properly reflect the arrangements between you.  Here’s a link to ours.
  • Talk to your accountant/payroll/pensions provider and let the know you have potential workers who may be eligible
  • Talk to us about how to contract and manage your freelancers in a way that is appropriate for your business

Want a free contract review? 

If you are paying a UK based freelancer and not sure if they are a worker or running their own business  let us check it out 

  • June 21, 2017

Are school holidays hurting your business?

I was chatting to a ‘mumpreneur’ recently and she was asking me about how to handle school holidays.

Should I tell my customers I don’t answer the phone during school holidays?

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Like so many women she was balancing building a business with taking care of her family.  She hadn’t been able to find herself a term time only job, so had started a business that would work around her family.   She was a ‘mumpreneur’.

Term time only working keeps you poor

Term time only employment contracts can trap women into lower paid roles.    Part time employees (red in the bar chart) in small businesses earn the least of all.

Part time working

No wonder so many women chose self-employment.   Be your own boss.  Set your own rates.   Result.  What could be better?

Can you earn enough in your business?

Self-employed earnings have been steadily falling for some years.   A  lot of people are struggling on the lower hourly rates.   Far too many of those are women.   Despite being able to set our own pay rates many ‘mumpreneurs’ earn below the National Living Wage.   Term time only working only emphasises the problem.

School holidays

UK schools shut for around 13 weeks a year.  If you are take all of that time off you have to earn your income in 39 weeks.   Allow another 4 weeks for when the children are ill (or you are) and you are trying to earn a living in 35 weeks a year.

How much can you earn?

Weekly hours           Hourly rate          Annual Turnover

30                                                       £10                                 £10,500

30                                                       £20                                 £21,000

Most business owners will tell you that they can’t earn during every hour they give to the business.   There are all sorts of things like sales and marketing, administration, dealing with customer queries that have to be fitted it.

Being self-employed means that your annual turnover is not your pay.  You will have expenses from equipment, bad debts, insurance, tax, national insurance etc.

Childcare costs can take 50% or more of your gross hourly earnings. If you have more than one child you can find yourself earning less than the cost of childcare since childminders and nurseries charge per child.

Working family child care credits

The ever changing working family childcare tax credits scheme may help.   You need to be available to work for at least 16 hours a week – even if you are not able to charge someone for them.  So keep a careful record of how you spend your time as well as your income or you will fall between the gaps in the scheme.  If you are not working school holidays these will show up as zero hours for almost one third of the year!

School holidays hurt your business

Not only do parents trying to create a business around school holidays lose revenue, but there is a massive effect on the business of this ‘stop-start’ policy.   Not only are you not earning during a substantial part of the year, but you are not selling, marketing, learning, developing during this massive gap.

What ‘s the alternative?

You can’t go letting all your clients go at the beginning of each school holiday.

Nor can you let them down by simply disappearing.  

What can you do?

After 37 years in business and two children here are my top tips for growing a business that makes you money and doesn’t stop for holidays.

  1. Time shift your working time during school holidays.   Do as much as you can in the evenings and weekends.
  2. Make sure your phone is properly covered and you never answer it to clients with noisy kids in the background.  It’s OK to put a message on your voicemail to say I will pick up my voicemail at 9am, 1pm and 5pm. And make sure you are somewhere quiet when you do.
  3. Find other parents in the same situation and arrange a ‘gang’.  I found other Mums in a similar situation and we arranged that each Mum would have all the kids for one week.   I sent sandwiches and drinks – it wasn’t an expensive week and the kids loved being taken to the local rec to play games and being part of a crowd.
  4. Find yourself an associate you can send work to when you are not available.   Make sure you manage them properly – don’t just dump work on them at no notice.   If you are not available during school holidays consider whether a student (studying business) might be a great associate – as they will only be available during holidays.  
  5. Make sure you take some annual leave for yourself – don’t just work all year round.  You need time to recover and time to enjoy your children – even if it is not a third of the year!
  6. Automate your social media during school holidays and create ‘lead magnets’ and campaigns that work for you when you are not working. Even if your customers don’t buy during term time you need to have them planning to buy from you as soon as school goes back.  If you wait till schools are back they may have decided to buy from someone else.
  7. Create ‘products’ that people can buy from you online when you are not personally available.
  8. Invest in a great VA who does not need the same time off as you.  Have that conversation before you get started.

With planning, resourcefulness and a little bit of luck you can create a business that makes money all year round.   You don’t have to stop your business cold every time the schools break up.

As your business grows learn to outsource your work to freelancers who can work when you are not available.  You can have a 52 week business without working 52 weeks a year – but you have to plan it, and set it up that way.

Share your top tips for keeping your business going – add a comment and let us know.


Secure your data, client lists, log ins and more and get started properly.  

 About the Author Annabel Kaye

Creating flexibility that doesn’t hurt. In these uncertain times we are going to need a lot of that. Employment law and HR specialist with a long standing passion for managing and contracting freelancers and handling tricky relationships at work. Consultant, professional speaker and advisor. Founded Irenicon in 1980 to find the workable space between employment law and relationships and founded KoffeeKlatch in 2009 to support freelancing, family working and the way we work today.

  • June 12, 2017

Sailing adventure sponsorship opportunity available for local businesses

The Association Of Pension & Benefits Claimants Cic (THE ABC) SAILING ADVENTURE June 12th.

The ABC’s main aim is to help  those receiving state pensions and state benefits.  Our ABC website is a directory of organisations that help people on low incomes. Many of these organisations do not have a marketing budget and this is valuable work helping the offeree and those needing support. We have been building this directory with students from Essex University, Student Union, VTeam (volunteers). The results have been fantastic and as such we have formed the Achievers Club designed to inspire and reward students that excel while working with the ABC and while helping the community. Students get a Case Study and the completed internship details are added to their transcript. Everybody wins.

We are looking for a modest £150 to sponsor our first event a sailing trip on Westerly Griffin sailing cruiser from Brightlingsea to Rowhedge (the picturesque Anchor Pub) stopping over the period of an hour each side of the 14:25 high tide. This is to pay towards a fabulous buffet meal, and also light refreshments at the University Community Sailing Club in Brightlingsea. Our goal is to create a documentary film we can show students and we can show on the ABC website and on YouTube.

The ABC have other events lined up – a visit to the Houses of Parliament in the autumn, and a day next year at a Tank Museum, with a blast on tracked vehicles, taking part in archery as well as handling WW1 and WW2 weapons. A sponsor is welcome to attend the lunch and bring guests and take part in other Achievers Club events as a VIP supporter. Extra guest would need a per head additional amount.  

 This is a chance to reach out to students, promote good-works and encourage those working hard to gain valuable, realistic, work experience and training, while helping others.


The ABC’s main aim is to give those receiving state pensions and state benefits formal representation through the creation of programmes and initiatives that enable those on benefits to secure beneficial and gainful employment. Also, to manage their circumstances better, while managing on a low income.

This is our website:

Our ABC website is a directory of organisations that help people on low incomes. We have been building this up with students from Essex University, Student Union, VTeam (volunteers). We will be expanding this partnership in the autumn.

There are thousands of organisations ready to help people, but often these small organisations lack a marketing budget large enough to reach everyone who needs their services. Thus, this is a valuable service both for service offerees in the third-sector and to those needing assistance. We already have over seven hundred organisations in our directory, and our goal is to grow our directory in the UK and then internationally.

We aim not simply to signpost people, but to distribute inspiring ideas.

The ABC publish a constant news stream and we have over a thousand articles in our library. We also broadcast UK Parliament TV, Scottish Parliament TV and Europarl TV both recorded and live programming. The ABC are a trusted, informative source of information. We supply ideas and insights to the UK’s DWP Select Committee for example.

We give our students case studies and the Essex University Students Union gives students accreditation to add to their academic record. In the autumn (2017), we plan to recruit a much larger team.

The ABC run events for our interns, such as a sailing voyage up the River Colne and a Houses of Parliament trip is planned for the autumn. This is partly as an incentive, partly as a reward, and as a way of developing life-skills and furthering education and learning. We call this initiative ‘The Achievers Club’ and those who wish to contribute after leaving university are still eligible to take part.

Last year we had a respectable 50,000 website visits. We have 12,000 contacts and over forty-plus students who have worked with us. Seventeen of these students have been from Essex University. Students on our internships have gone on to become teachers and civil servants.

Our goal is to launch Work TV. The ABC’s ‘WorkTV‘ TV channel, is a project in the early stages. The magazine-style programming will offer a wide range of informative videos with programming featuring news and information about career opportunities, apprenticeships, government schemes, franchising opportunities, small business briefings and the self-employed. It will share tips and ideas and offer further education advice as well as featuring recruitment professionals and their services. Work TV will act as a resource for businesspeople, careers teachers and HR industry professionals and encourages work-seekers by sharing ideas while providing morale boosting and encouragement.

We are partners of the Electoral Commission encouraging young people to vote and we have other initiatives underway. We won a ‘Colins Award’ for one of our career opportunities, documentary videos.

Future trends predict humanity entering a world of automation and part of our work is to raise the image and esteem of those needing state help. Diminution in the press and media of those needing support is often counter-productive to those who want to get on.  Simon Collyer, the ABC founder and CEO was interviewed for an Applecart Films documentary – ‘Poverty the Human Face’, a film which is currently in production:

The ABC are the alternative voice for our community, and aiming to create better outcomes for those on low incomes, wanting to improve their circumstances.

The ABC are members of the Institute of Fundraising, the CIC Association and other third sector associations. We started with a prestigious Millennium Award for Simon Collyer personally and BIG Lottery funding

  • June 7, 2017