Freelance woes: Freelance Sick Days

** Cough Cough - Sneeze - Splutter **

I’m late with my latest blog post, very late, but the subject of this post probably sums up quite why I’m so late this month, and it’s to do with freelance sick days.

As a freelance web designer I am my own boss, I get my own clients, do all my own work and do my own paper work, taxes and admin duties. This unfortunately means when I’m ill, everything grinds to a halt.

This wasn’t something I used to think about, let alone worry about, I simply wasn’t ill enough for it to cross my mind. I was one of those annoying people who rarely visited his GP and almost never needed the boost of cold and flu meds. This all changed when my daughter, who is just over three years old, started going to nursery.

Freelance Sick Days

I’d been warned by friends who have kids already, they’d said “Man, you are going to get so ill all the time when your kid starts nursery”, but no, I was invincible, I never got ill, I laugh at you poor sick people, and then it started… a few sniffles here and there, a bit of a cough, achy in the mornings, nothing that couldn’t be attributed to old age, at first.

And then it hits you… full-blown colds, sometimes even Flu. This lasted from late December to (tentatively) early May. I say “tentatively” as I’m not sure it’s gone.

To make matters worse I also suffer from Gout arthritis that causes a crystallising of the joints, leaving me in intense pain. Needless to say, working during this period was a huge effort and deadlines and client work did suffer, hell even this blog went in to hiatus for a while.

Freelance Sick Days – Yay or nay?

The point of this semi-rant is that it’s my opinion that the government should do more to support freelancers during times of ill-health. A large number of those that own their own businesses do so on a freelance basis and this generally requires a 1:1 ratio of hours to pay, no good if you’re ill. Another issue being that as a freelancer you generally don’t allow yourself, or can’t allow yourself, to take sick days to properly recuperate. Instead continuing to battle on and in affect actually getting more ill as time progresses. There’s an interesting article I found on the Guardian website about freelancers and sick pay, which may of some interest to readers of this article.

Currently the best solution is to set up your own freelance sick days fund. Put a bit away every month that you can fall back on if you get ill. Thankfully that’s what i did and it has proven itself invaluable. Also, make sure you have a great support network of people that can jump in at a moments notice and help you get through the rough patches.

Here’s to good health!