New research has shed light on business owners’ ability to take time off to recover when ill and it makes for depressing reading.
The study by FreeAgent found that 82 per cent of British business owners had worked through illness at some stage to keep their enterprises afloat. The reason they gave? They couldn’t afford to take the time off!
More than 500 freelancers and micro-businesses were questioned and it was found that many business owners are regularly working long hours, with nearly a third (30%) of respondents saying that they worked more than 48 hours per week. In addition, 5 per cent admitted that they spent more than 64 hours each week working.
Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent, said:
“Running a small business can be incredibly tough. From working long hours and spending most of your time on admin, right through to the stress of maintaining a healthy cash flow and finding new customers, it’s a very demanding and often overwhelming job.”
“But what makes self-employment especially tough is that there is rarely any kind of safety net in place to help protect you from the unforeseen. If you’re too sick to work, you won’t make any money – and it’s clear that many micro-business owners feel that they have to tough through an illness rather than actually taking time to rest and recuperate.”
“That’s just not a sustainable solution in the long run and it means that the UK’s micro-business sector could actually actually putting its health at serious risk.”
It has also been revealed in a separate poll carried out by FreeAgent and The Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA) that 76 per cent of self-employed people currently do not have any method of providing sick pay, maternity/paternity leave, holiday or redundancy pay in their business. This is despite sick pay provision being revealed as the benefit that self-employed people would welcome the most – ahead of maternity pay, job seekers allowance and pension auto-enrolment.