BAJR Federation Archaeology

Full Version: IfA Now have a policy on Self Employment
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There is a piece on this in the latest Diggers' Forum newsletter which was published today, it sets out what the new policy is, but also what it means for those of us who are freelancers and what we may be able to do with this policy in terms of nailing any employers abusing the system. The article is included in the free sample version of the DF newsletter and you can read it here: I imagine that may be where David heard of the new policy?!!

I believe that DF members were instrumental in getting this policy implemented. I initially complained to the IfA back in 2008 about the problem of employers paying 'self-employed' diggers seriousy low day rates, and whether or not they were truly self-employed. Back then I argued that they were in breach of Principle 5, it turns out they are. The workings of the IfA Self-employed Working Group which included myself and fellow DF member Geoff Morley resulted in this Policy, and I think it is a welcome addition and a clear statement of intent. The DF hope that the IfA will continue to support self-employed archaeologists with further guidance such as on how to calculate a day rate and sample day rates that are equivalent to the established employee minima (in a similar way to what BAJR has recently done).

It has certainly taken its time to get from initial complaint to solid Policy, but given the clear wording of the Policy I feel it is worth the wait to get such a positive and unequivocable statement that you can't pay freelancers less than the equivalent to the minima. No longer can you just divide the IfA minima by 233 working days and just pay that to 'freelance' diggers.

As it says in the article, the DF is prepared to take forward any well-founded complaints over mis-treatment of self-employed archaeologists under this policy. As we announced in Newsletter 6 there is a new mechanism for anonymous complaints at the IfA (that the DF also argued for). If you have any info, get in touch, details in the newsletter. Without evidence we can't take this forward to the next step, with evidence we can put in complaints and get day rates raised.
On the basis of conversations with HR specialists, it is legal to offer rolling contracts with breaks, but the employer may find that doing so does not have the intended effect of preventing the accrual of rights. To be a 'genuine break' there would have to be a time break, no intention to reemploy at the end of a contract, a different employer in between or benefits claim. Without these then legally the employee would have the same rights as one who had worked continuously. If you work for an employer who tries this, your first action should be to join a union, they will be able to advise the employer.
Absolutely right Martin!! The law also says that in a lot of cases local agreements through collective bargaining may supercede the priovisions of the law i.e if your union can agree a policy regarding rolling FTCs that may take precedence over the legal minima.
Thank you Kevin and Martin for clarifying this. I have avoided these broken rolling contracts as I felt they were inherently wrong. I do know others who are employed on this basis and hopefully they are reading these posts. There is a law to protect workers and we should use it.
So once reported will the Union then find alternative work for you? Some people have no choice to accept short-term contracts because of the lack of work!!!! Regardless of the contractual conditions or 'genuine breaks'! I know many units that have finished people a week before Christmas and taken back on in the new year! IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME!!

And as for self-employed status, it would be nice if the IfA concentrated on relevant issues for freelancers like the payment of invoices or establishing good rates of pay rather than just sprouting a load of nonsense that is more reactive than proactive.......typical! And how much do they charge? Useless!

The IfA once again showing that is has no idea what happens in the real world!! Sad!
I'm not saying it doesn't happen, only that there are ways to protect employees from abuse, and the best is unionisation.

I'm a bit confused about the idea of the IfA helping with freelancer pay rates. If I use a plumber, I agree a price with them, they don't wave an industry standard rate card and say 'you'll have to pay this". And if I employ two plumbers, there is no need for me to pay them the same. As a freelancer it is up to you to negotiate a price or rate which you consider acceptable, and to walk away if necessary.
Fair point why are we getting upset about freelancers getting paid ?67.50 a day then? My point is that we can't all just 'walk away'....the rent needs paying!
I would hope that a client might choose on the basis of a mixture of cost and quality, not just cost, so if offered 67.50 per day I would ask for ?100 and say that I was offering a better more productive service, with my experience and skills.
Client will go for the cheapest then have the problem faced by most freelancers - when do you get your money? 30 days? 90 days? When they get paid?
Not sure about 'client' here - if *your* client is an archaeological contractor who has agreed a price with the commissioning body, then they will want the best/quickest, not the cheapest. After all, this is why it's so hard for graduates to get started- because everybody knows that they will achieve only a fraction of the useful work that an experienced digger would.

On the invoice front, the terms are what you agree - if you agree to wait until they are paid, that's up to you. I would only sign such terms if I didn't need the money anytime soon.
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