The Shift: Issue #11

NUJ legal challenge to the lockdown support measures; #Giftcard500; the rise of micro-entrepreneurship; Remote work & AI.

I’ve been in full campaign mode this week.

The National Union of Journalists has submitted a legal challenge to the government’s lockdown support measures.

They believe the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) introduction by the Treasury has excluded large numbers of freelance workers and is therefore discriminatory.

It’s a step up in their campaign to secure equal treatment for all freelance workers.

The government has excluded PAYE workers from the SEISS scheme and often from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). This means the chancellor has failed to protect a significant number of working people whose incomes were affected in precisely the same way as others who have qualified for assistance.

Another reason why you should #JoinAUnion.

After months of asking the BBC to help their PAYE freelances, the BBC has now agreed to provide some financial support to about 649 PAYE freelances and they will receive their average earnings for March, April, and May (capped at £2,500 a month). 

This is being funded by the BBC, not the government, but still, good news - can others follow suit?

A HUGE thank you to NUJ Extra, the union’s charity, for checking in and supporting me financially over the past few months. I’m very grateful for your help.

Feels good to be part of a collective working to improve pay & conditions for all media workers.

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#Giftcard500 – Raise the tax-free limit on gift cards to kickstart the economy

This week, the Gift Card & Voucher Association (GCVA) launched its campaign, #Giftcard500 – lobbying the government to raise the tax-free limit on gift cards to kickstart the economy.

Employers are increasingly using gift cards to reward their staff. Currently, anything over £50 is subject to tax (HMRC Trivial Benefits Allowance) and they are asking the government to raise this tax-free limit to £500 permanently to bring us into line with other countries such as Ireland and Sweden.

This is a quick & simple solution to get spending flowing again and encourage companies to say thank you to their teams for their work over the past few months.

The high street is in desperate need of support to encourage people to start spending again. Gift cards are great as they can be spent in outlets large & small - and online. People have been buying them as a ‘pay it forward’ to help support local businesses during the lockdown.

Please sign, share, support! Let’s make it happen.        

It’s a shame the £500 shopping voucher initiative suggested by the Resolution Foundation wasn’t taken up – a missed opportunity to show support for the industries hardest hit by Coronavirus. Big media appetite for this - comment piece in The Sun.

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💻 Webinar

Interactive Q&A/Freelancing Surgery with Sarah Townsend, freelance marketing copywriter and author of Survival Skills for Freelancers, Tuesday 28th July. Simple strategies to help you thrive without neglecting your mental health & wellbeing (via ProCopywriters). Register here.

🔆 Creative Spotlight

Mohana Prabhakar, content & media consulting, based in Muscat, Oman.

Content creation, editing, content management and communication strategy, corporate website content, media strategy.

When I started as a journalist in 1992, it allowed me to do what I loved: Learn about new businesses, meet new people from all types of industries and backgrounds and tell the story in a way that everyone wanted to know more. Connecting people and businesses through words, content, excites me even today and storytelling is my strength. That is why I decided to start my venture and move away from a media-only platform to the all-inclusive communication role. And I hope to get the opportunity to mentor young Omanis who want to get ahead in the field of communications and media and teach them the value of every word they put out there.

Twitter: mohana1, Insta: mohanaprabhakar, LinkedIn.

Where can we go on holiday this summer? Overheard a woman moaning about how irresponsible it is to go on holiday. “Too many spikes, it’s just not worth the risk.”

I’m in rural Nottinghamshire with my fam ✨ Enjoying Southwell with its little boutiques, cosy cafes, Minster, Old Theatre deli, gorgeous walks, and country pubs. After months of being stuck inside my flat, it’s bliss. Simple pleasures.

🔗 Tools & ideas

Robot usage is soaring during the pandemic (ZDNet)

Fujitsu to halve office space in 3 years citing 'new normal' (Reuters). Japan is rewriting the way its employees work - big news for a country that thrives on its office culture.

Our remote work future is going to suck (Sean Blanda)

Grounded takeover - the empowered economy (Jomayra Herrera. Investor @Cowboy Ventures)

Musings on: unbundling meetings for a remote world (Monica Desai)

Pandemic speeds largest test yet of universal basic income (Nature)

After ad revenue drop, Twitter tells investors it’s eyeing subscription options (TechCrunch)

What I wish I knew 5 years ago about building a career in ‘content’. (Sean Blanda)

I’m a model and I know that AI will eventually take my job (Vogue/Hacker News)

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