The glorious Media Industry. Those who’ve taken an internship in the media industry would know how hectic the lifestyle is. Some loved it while some hated it.
Some were simply born in it.
You see, to some people, working in the media industry is more than a decision.
I have a friend who has been drawing since eight years old and is currently working as a graphic designer. To him, it is kinda like a calling.
For those of us in the media industry (especially the freelancers), I’m sure you can all agree that there are a few problems haunting us constantly (ahem, employers).
As such, here is a list of things freelancers should know- before traversing through such a muddling industry.
1. How big is the industry?
“What are my chances of becoming successful?”
The question most people would want to know the answer to.
Unfortunately, I can’t answer that. However, I can show you what you’re up against.
(Hey, sorry for the forced meme)
According to surveys conducted by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI), there are currently 83,600 people working in the media industry.
If we were to consider the freelancers, that amount would grow by a staggering 50%!
2. More protection for Freelancers
With so many freelancers running around looking for jobs (I used to be one of them), it’s no wonder that some freelancers can end up being abused by their clients.
I’m sure we can all write a whole list of bad things about the clients (Delayed payment, unlimited revisions, etc). However, here’s some good news for everyone.
“To develop our media industry, we must first develop and look after our media talents, including freelancers in our industry,” said Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information and Health.
Starting from April next year (2018), companies must abide by the Tripartite Standard on the Procurement of Services from Media Freelancers when hiring freelancers in order to qualify for grants and funding for Public Service Broadcast content.
In case you don’t understand how this is considered good news, said grants are a major source of support for media companies in Singapore.
Labour MP Mr Ang Hin Kee even said in a Facebook post that the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) will be organising legal clinics for freelancers to keep them updated on their rights.
3. Written contracts
Companies will be required to provide freelancers with a written contract.
Shocking, right? I know. But the fact of the matter is that some clients didn’t provide that, just because they have the moolah.
The contract will state the agreed deliverables, ownership of intellectual property and payment milestones.
In other words, your interests are actually protected now!
4. Timely Payment
I know what you’re thinking. Yeah, me too.
We can finally receive payment for our Halloween project before Christmas! The companies are to adhere to the agreed payment deadlines.
Basically, if the company you work for agreed to pay you before the 15th, they jolly well do so.
However, if no payment date is agreed upon, the freelancer should be paid no later than 45 days upon the company’s receipt of invoice.
Now, that’s a large relief – you would be shocked to know that some companies pay their freelancers months after the completion of a project. Or worse, some didn’t even pay – or only pay when they need to engage the freelancers again.
Not I say one, my boss says one #justsaying
5. Dispute resolution
Mediation is the first course of action in a dispute resolution.
Should the need for mediation arise, subsidies are available from Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) for mediation with the Singapore Mediation Centre.
So, don’t worry if you have issues(legit ones, of course) with your client! IMDA’s got your back!
You see, one of the issues that freelancers face is the lack of financial powers to start a legal fight – now, the authorities are going to give them the ammo. Finally!
Personally, I’m a little surprised with this one. I’m already happy enough with the “Timely Payment” part, but insurance? Wow.
Companies should offer workplace protection through insurance for production equipment, commercial general liability and work-related incidents.
Now, you freelancers won’t have to worry about spoiling your precious DSLR cameras while filming a project: insurance has you covered!
Even though my days of freelancing were long over, I’m glad to know that something is being done to address the issues freelancers are facing. We’re pretty sure the Tripartite Standard, jointly developed by IMDA, MOM, NTUC, SNEF and supported by TAFEP, is going to pave the way for more freelancers to join the industry and yet be protected.
After all, there are thousands of fishes out there seeking a job opportunity as we speak.
That being said, I hope that companies can understand that freelancers are humans as well and we deserve to be treated better.
Oh man, things are pretty personal this time around. It’s been a while since I’ve written something this serious.
It’s a little sad to know that our Government had to step in just to improve the situation, but I suppose it’s for the greater good.
And I can’t help but to say this: freelancers nowadays have it better. Ha.
This article was first published on goodyfeed.com in collaboration with the Labour Movement of Singapore.
Featured Image: Maxim Blinkov / Shutterstock.com
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