The BBC has announced a package to support the earnings of over 600 freelancers who work for the public service part of the organisation and have lost work due to the pandemic.
The move will allow PAYE freelancers who regularly work for BBC public service to receive compensation along the lines of the furlough package to cover the period from March to May this year when the country was in full lockdown because of the pandemic.
Since the start of the pandemic Bectu has been lobbying the BBC and government to ensure all freelancers receive financial support and this change in position from BBC Public Service has been welcomed.
The BBC claimed that it could not access the furlough scheme for these workers as they are were accessing public funds and that was not in the rules of the scheme.
However, during this time Bectu and other organisations have lobbied the BBC to ensure that excluded PAYE freelancers are given access to compensation during the pandemic.
The BBC has now agreed that freelancers who either had no bookings or reduced bookings due to Covid-19, but who had worked with the BBC every month over the period September 2019 – February 2020 will benefit.
These freelancers will receive their average earnings for the months of March, April and May 2020 (calculated over the 12 months prior to COVID) and capped at £2,500.
Bectu national secretary Noel McClean said: “At a time when the BBC is facing severe financial challenges it is good to see it recognise the vital role that freelancers play.
“Over 600 freelancers will benefit from this move, which is fantastic news and will hopefully make up for some anxious months. However we know there are still freelancers in the industry who found themselves with no support during this time and we will continue to push for changes which will improve the financial and job security of freelancers.”