the media and entertainment union
a sector of Prospect

10 July 2008

Union officials have reminded freelances working for the BBC to examine how they are being treated in respect of holiday pay.

A meeting with BBC management last month established that the BBC now has a corporation-wide policy on the issue, but BECTU believes that freelances could still face unfair treatment.

Overall the BBC now accepts that freelances are entitled to holiday pay and has written to them to say so.

Less welcome, however, is the fact that BBC management wants freelances to identify holiday pay on future invoices by subtracting it from their agreed rates.

BECTU has told the BBC that we believe that this approach is wrong in principle and may lead to legal claims.

The BBC’s response was that it is “legitimate” for freelances to come to them to discuss their fees “and that these discussions can include elements such as holiday entitlements.”

“BECTU continues to believe that freelance members with well-established personal rates, paid by the BBC on repeated occasions, may have grounds for a formal challenge. If this applies to you, please contact your full time official as soon as possible.” commented Assistant General Secretary, Martin Spence.

BECTU’s experience is that the BBC has been confused about holiday pay for a long time. In Drama, for example, managers had accepted freelances as “workers” entitled to holiday pay, but the same approach was not applied in Factual.