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How to Plan for Self-Employment After Brexit

06 September 2017, 00:09 CET

Another day and another Brexit headline is written and recently, many of those headlines have addressed discussions on the rights of EU and UK citizens, post-Brexit. What will Brexit mean for the rights of EU nationals living and working in the UK, along with Britons living and working across the European Union. And, among those rights are those of self-employed workers.

Computer Laptop Screen - Photo by Mia Baker

Disagreement

In the UK, there are some 4.6 million self-employed workers, which accounts for 15% of the working population. Across the whole of the European Union, there are 32.6 million self-employed workers – a number that's dwarfed by the 185 million employees, according to the most recent data available from Eurostat, the European statistical agency.

While the UK and EU seem in agreement that whatever decisions they come to regarding how both sets of citizens are treated must be reciprocal, right now, there is disagreement over what each region is willing to offer.

Currently, the EU is planning for lifetime guarantees of rights for any EU citizens living and working in the UK and the same for UK citizens living and working in the EU. The UK, meanwhile, is discussing a new settled process for EU citizens who have lived in the UK for over five years, while those who have lived in the UK for less than five years will need to apply for a temporary status in order to remain in the UK.

As yet, neither party seems likely to change their views. It's still early on in the Brexit negotiations process, however, and there is some hope that an agreement will be made. Eventually.

Self-Employed Workers Must Make Sensible Choices

As any self-employed worker knows, it's not always an easy role to manage. As well as keeping in touch with customers and clients and delivering work to the best standard and on time, there are the rules, finances – including tax returns and insurances to get right.

Insurance requirements differ from industry to industry. But, one type of insurance it is important to have is health cover for the self-employed. First and foremost, it's essential in order to cover the costs of any serious illnesses or accidents. And, in the event that Brexit negotiations move closer towards the UK's view, where citizens won't be granted lifetime rights, which includes access to the NHS in the UK, it could become even more important.

When you're a freelancer, or self-employed, taking time off due to illness or an accident is doubly expensive; you're not just losing out on income, you're potentially looking at high expenses to get you back on your feet again. The right health insurance should cover consultant fees and also the cost of any treatment you might need. Without it, more than your health could suffer, your business and earnings are at risk too.

With so much uncertainty over what the future holds, self-employed EU and UK citizens should carefully consider all their insurance cover: what they need, what they don't and what they already have. Then, once everything is in place, they should be ready to weather whatever the Brexit negotiations throw at them.

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