More self-employed people would like to receive sickness pay than any other form of employment benefit, according to new research.
A survey of nearly 900 micro-business owners from the Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA) and cloud accounting software firm FreeAgent has revealed that self-employed people generally value sick pay provision considerably ahead of other benefits, such as maternity pay, jobseekers’ allowance and pension auto-enrolment.
Sole traders rated sickness pay with a desirability score of 8.7 out of ten, though this fell to 6.4 out of ten among those working through their own limited companies. Overall, 76 per cent of respondents said they do not have any method of providing pay during periods of sickness, new parenthood, holiday or redundancy.
It was also revealed that 35 per cent did not have any plans in place to fund their retirement, while 22 per cent would opt out of auto-enrolment if it were available, with those working through limited companies more likely to do so than sole traders. Overall, auto-enrolment was shown to be one of the least favoured benefits.
Responding to the findings, the FCSA said the forthcoming Taylor review into modern employment practices should be aiming to help provide the self-employed with some of the statutory rights and benefits that office-based workers receive, although it also noted that any changes in this regard should be applied sensitively.
Julia Kermode, chief executive of the FCSA, said: “Not all self-employed workers want the same things, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution – in particular, those working through their own limited companies are more likely to already have provision for welfare benefits.
“The government should find a way of offering additional benefits specifically to those people who want and need them.”