Every Tuesday we send out the MedComms Networking email newsletter to subscribers. It includes brief commentary on what we're doing and planning, and highlights relevant news to encourage sharing of information, experiences and ideas and to stimulate discussion. The text and links included below, by definition, were accurate on the day of publication, but may then become outdated.
MedComms Networking - 22 September 2020
This week, let's give a shout out for the freelancers! The MedComms business has become highly dependent on a thriving specialist freelance community. Freelancing offers benefits, but also challenges. Indeed, we've a careers guide to help! Read "Making it my own business: a guide to being a freelance writer in MedComms", by Kathryn White.
Those challenges can be very real. Earlier this year, many freelancers suddenly had work cancelled overnight. So, no income. Thankfully, most are busy again, but it was a wake-up call.
And it happened just as we were preparing - much too late, in my opinion - for the off-payroll working rules (IR35) in the UK. These were delayed by COVID-19, but they're coming in April 2021.
We've time to prepare properly. Don't get caught by unintended consequences.
If you're a freelancer working with UK companies, understand what's coming and think about how you might be affected. You'll do worse than start at the IR35 page from the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE).
You can also do a lot worse than subscribe to our MedComms Workbook services!
Almost 200 freelance subscribers and 170 work opportunities in the past 12 months but it's still difficult to see overall patterns. We can only see snapshots, but more companies are restricting how they work with freelancers. For instance, by requiring professional indemnity (PI) insurance, freelancers having to be LTD status, sole traders having to work within Umbrella companies and more.
Under the new IR35 rules, if the commissioning company gets it wrong there are serious financial penalties. The rules, though, are open to interpretation and some companies are focused on mitigating risks and are updating policies now.
So, if I may offer a word to the wise. If you commission freelancers, first familiarise yourselves with your company's latest policies, then discuss them with the freelancer up front. My inbox is filling with messages from freelancers who were about to be engaged, only to receive a contract they can't sign. Potentially putting projects at risk.
On other matters, as if you aren't busy enough, the torrent of invites to webinars keeps coming! Everyone's doing them now.
Our weekly #MedComms webinars start again next week, on Wednesday 30 September with another FirstMedCommsJob: Meet the agencies panel session. Please join us.
Some others I've signed up for, include this Thursday's webinar with Mark Handforth leading a discussion about the new French Anti Gift Law with a specific focus on meetings and events. And How to Succeed with Omnichannel Communication on 8 October from SciencePOD.
The list of recordings to listen to is equally getting very long! This one, posted last week, is well worth your time. Mathias Posch of ICS talks with Thomas Reiser of International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis in The Future of Association Management.
Remember, details of all our activities are kept bang up-to-date at www.MedCommsNetworking.com or give me a shout at any time if you've any questions, comments or suggestions.
Stay safe and well, everyone.
Managing Director, NetworkPharma Ltd
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