The director of executive search at professional recruitment specialist Russam GMS has welcomed the appointment of a ‘freelancer’s tsar’ and the announcement that the Conservative party is considering introducing maternity pay for freelancing mothers.

Writing in Recruitment International, Melissa Baxter said: “It’s a real breakthrough in how freelance workers or what we call ‘self-drive workers’ are viewed and recognises the growing band of women who have chosen to work for themselves.”

Ms Baxter continued: “There has been a shift away in recent years from full-time payroll working into ‘self-drive workers’, which has up to now not been aligned to government or EU thinking, policy making and legislation, which is all geared to getting workers onto payrolls, fully protected and fully taxed.”

The two developments, she argues, signal that government is at last beginning to see the UK’s growing army of Umbrella Company Employees and other freelancing/contracting professionals as a real source of skilled talent that deserves support.

Ms Baxter cited a recent Ipsos Mori survey of interim providers on behalf of the Interim Management Association, which revealed that the number of female interim executives had soared by 35% during the second quarter of 2014. This indicates that more skilled women than ever before are turning to freelancing and contracting.

She welcomed the prospect of maternity pay as a “big step forward” by policymakers in their growing recognition of self-drive workers and expressed the hope that this would become a reality after the next election. Ms Baxter also described the appointment of David Norris MP as the country’s first ambassador for freelancing as “long overdue”.


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