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Freelance Workers and Contracts

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 29 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Freelance Workers And Contracts

Freelance workers must make sure to agree on, and sign, contracts before they begin work. Contracts not only help protect them while they are working for a client, but help them remember the framework of their projects as well. If contracts are not exchanged prior to the freelance worker commencing a project then (s)he still may enjoy some protections under the law, such as if (s)he entered into a verbal agreement, but a hard copy of a signed contract always makes things easier if any disagreements come up later on. Contracts related to freelance work will often include sections on compensation, expenses, rights and warranties.

Contracts And Compensation

Freelance workers are working for their money, so the pay and other compensations that they should receive from a specific job should be clearly stated in any contract. Sometimes this pay is stated as a lump sum to be paid when work is completed, sometimes it is halved with half paid prior to work and half paid after, and sometimes it is expressed a percentage of profits such as in the case of royalties from a book deal. In addition to what they will be paid, freelance workers should also make sure that when they will be paid (on acceptance, on publication, on completion, 30 days after completion, etc.) and how they will be paid (cash, cheque, wire transfer, etc.) are also clearly listed in the contract.

Contracts And Expenses

Very often freelance workers will incur expenses while they complete a project. For example, the purchase of supplies, travel undertaken for the project and entertainment expenses all come up frequently for freelance workers. If a freelancer expects these costs to be covered by their client they should make sure that this is written into their contract as well as how the expenses will be covered. Will the freelancer be reimbursed? When? How? These questions should all be answered in a freelancer’s contract.

Contracts And Rights

Freelancers who are selling items such as photographs and written pieces will likely need to contract the kind of rights that they are willing to sell to a particular client. Rights detail: when, where and how a client is able to use the freelancer’s work. For example, first rights mean that a freelance worker is only selling one time rights to the work. All rights mean that the freelancer is selling the right to use the work at any time in any place to the client. For more information on the sale of rights, freelancers should check with their respective professional organisations.

Contracts And Warranties

Many contracts that freelancers will sign will include sections on warranties. This section details that the freelancer is assuring the client that they have created and carried out the work themselves and that they have not plagiarised, copied, stolen or otherwise infringed on another individual’s rights in regards to the work. This section is commonly found in contracts for freelance writers, photographers and graphic designers, among other freelance workers.

Contracts are designed to protect both freelance workers and their clients. Many contracts that are used for freelance work include sections on compensation, expenses, rights and warranties.

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