Statutory Self Employed Pay Possibly for Freelance Photographers in UK

We very much hope freelance (self-employed) photographers, who are the backbone of the industry, will not be forgotten and will get help from the government.  UNP Ltd and most photo agencies like ours, work only with freelancers across the UK and as the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to affect our usual working patterns, where we see wide cancellations until June & July this year, we are worried that it’ll affect our photographer and their livelihoods big time.

United National Photographers are here to support anyone affected but we are helpless unless the Government pays self-employed workers.  Below is how to bill went before Parliament.


Committee of the whole House: 23 March 2020

Member’s explanatory statement:

The purpose of this amendment is to make the Government ‘top up’ self-employed workers’ earnings to the lower of 80% of their net monthly earnings averaged over three years, or £2,917 a month.


  1. The Secretary of State must, by regulations, introduce a scheme of Statutory Self- Employment Pay.
  2. The scheme must make provision for payments to be made out of public funds to individuals who are a: self-employed, or b: freelancers.
  3. The payments to be made in subsection (2) are to be set so that the net monthly earnings of an individual specified in subsection (2) do not fall below

    a: 80 per cent of their monthly net earnings, averaged over the last three years, or

    b: £2,917

    whichever is lower.

  4. No payment to be made under subsection (2) shall exceed £2,917 per month.
  5. A statutory instrument containing regulations under this section is subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

As you will be aware the situation with regard to the coronavirus is evolving daily. Like many companys we have talked to our staff and many freelance photographers  about the importance of good hygiene habits and handwashing. We are adopting a ‘business as usual’ approach, keeping photographers and client’s alike informed without unnecessarily worrying them.

Photo agency UNP will survive this man-made nightmare.  That’s said, we have been working on our contingency planning in case of office closure, where we will prioritise client’s and photographers’ continued support wherever possible.  We will be here at all the time, manning the emails, phones in case of forward planning / bookings for April and May, as I am sure many of our clients will be working from home and doing exactly the same.  Something freelance photographer cannot do sadly.


Public Health England have been clear on action to take if people display the symptoms of coronavirus. If this is the case for pupils and families then they should stay at home and you should contact NHS 111 to get advice and guidance, including whether to self-isolate. The NHS outlines the symptoms of coronavirus as “A cough, a high temperature and shortness of breath.” The NHS also makes it clear that these symptoms do not necessarily mean that you have the illness as they are similar to the symptoms of more common illnesses such as cold and flu.