Freelancing holds many advantages for both the individual and company. There are relaxed hours for the worker. often from the comfort of home, whilst the employer will be streamlining costs by appointing someone on an ad hoc basis.
However, what if one of those clients chooses to cancel their agreement? There are generally no legal rights to reinstatement if this happens and much depends upon the terms of a contract, if indeed one has been signed at all.
As a freelancer, although you’re not as protected by UK employment law as you would be in permanent employment, there are certain rights you’re still eligible to if a client cancels.
You are entitled to be paid for any work that has already been completed, as well as any expenses incurred. This term is often known as a ‘kill fee’ and can be calculated upon various factors, such as the amount of work done before the termination, or as a flat percentage rate.
If a contract is in place yet parts of it have been breached, then this may entitle you to pursue legal action. The nature of this action can be complicated so it may be advisable to seek professional guidance if the claim is substantial enough.
Typical contract breaches include:
- A late or non-payment
- Termination without sufficient notice
- Failure to provide sufficient time or materials to complete work
- Demanding additional work not required originally
Without a contract, it is obviously trickier to hold the client accountable for loss of earnings. However, with proof that work was asked for and completed, for example with email agreements or meeting documents, then English Contract Law can still provide you with employee rights.
As a freelancer, it pays to prepare for the worst when it comes to a client cancelling at short notice. Ensure a contract is in place to protect you from such an eventuality, stipulating exact terms of compensation. You should also research the client’s reputation before starting work, whilst also adhering to the terms of contract from your end.
If you feel you’ve been severely hard-done by financially, consider going through the Small Claims Court (for sums under £5,000) or further down the legal route. An affordable accountancy firm can provide advice on receiving payment for work already completed if a client cancels unfairly.
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