Yes! You read right! There is an Employer-Freelancer code or should I just say there really should be an Employer-Freelancer code? Because in my mind, I like to believe there is one and just because it is invincible doesn’t mean it’s not existing.
What is an Employer-Freelancer Code?
An Employer-Freelancer Code is simply that piece that stipulates how the Employer especially should treat the Freelancer and how the Freelancer, in turn, should treat his/her Employer. It is not different from any other code of conduct out there in every organization and the Freelancesphere should not be different. Although, sometimes, a code of conduct is really not necessary because I love to believe that people do know what is right and shouldn’t be expected to be told or be made to do so before doing the expected. So if we say a code of conduct existed for official accountability and reference purposes, it won’t be wrong because if I had to wait to see a code of conduct before I do right by a fellow human or an employee of mine, then it’s totally wrong and something is wrong somewhere in my humanity.
Is the Employer-Freelancer Code really necessary?
Well, I’d like to think that it is necessary. Last week, a Freelancer friend of mine called me to discuss something with me. Let me categorically say that, that was my first time of hearing something of such like I have never heard it before. So, she was working for this person (content writing) and she submits three articles in a week. Do you know that only one article of hers make it to the website every week and the rest she never had an idea of where they ended? First, she thought her Employer was saving them up for days when articles would be needed more than agreed only for her to get a text from another friend who said she didn’t know she had started writing on this other platform and she was so happy for her. At the end of the day, she realized that her Employer had been sending her unaccounted-for articles to another platform and getting paid on her behalf. . . I was stunned . . . believe me, never heard it before.
She challenged her Employer. . . there were apologies, she made sure she collected the exact amount her Employer was paid for the articles (which was three times better than what her Employer was paying her on the platform and then she called it quits).
Do you still think Employer-Freelancer Code is unnecessary? I don’t think so.
I think Freelance is a very big industry and an industry as big as that should enjoy the privileges that come with other industries. Privileges like legal actions, arrears, etc. just to start with. If an Employer could boldly sell off his/her Freelancer’s rights without his/her permission then something is humanly wrong with this society.
Most often than not, Freelancers had been found not wanting in abiding by rules of contracts and then I realized that some of these Employers use contracts to hold a Freelancer accountable but who are they accountable to? In order words, an Employer-Freelancer Code makes the Employer totally accountable to him/herself, the Freelancer and the agreement.
And how should this be drafted?
Unlike contract that is drafted by the Employer and then sent to the Freelancer to read through, agree and sign, the Employer-Freelancer code should be drafted by both the Employer and the Freelancer till both of them are satisfied with the contents and if it is a much bigger platform, having a legal witness wouldn’t be an exaggeration.
Let me also stress that it is not every time that you have a new Freelance job that you request that an Employer-Freelance code be made because sometimes you just have to learn to trust – give your Employer the benefit of doubt and trust him/her to do right by you but when it is a much bigger Freelance contract or appointment, you really do not want to take such chances. It’s better to take precautions than to be sorry you didn’t.
Finally, I think one particular thing that never occurs to Freelancers as a code is the understanding that a potential Employer does not need to know how much your current Employer is paying you in order to decide how to attract you to his/her platform. It is so wrong that a to-be-Employer would ask how much you are being paid and before you know it, you’ve already said it and then he/she in the bid to impress you woos you with something bigger he/she might never be able to stick to as time goes on.
Being a Freelancer doesn’t mean being naïve or being stupid; don’t let them approach you like you’re a budding Freelancer. I think the word budding is what some of us use at times to appear humble which is totally cute but when your career and remuneration is involved, don’t act budding, act pro! And always dedicate each new day to getting better at pro!