Despite the ratification of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) over a month ago in the United States, new data from the Freelancers Union shows the majority of independent workers still have yet to receive financial assistance.
The $2.2 trillion economic stimulus plan was believed to be especially essential to supporting freelance workers given the notion that this segment of the workforce is often ineligible for unemployment insurance. Freelancers constitute at least one-third of the US workforce, according to a recent report by Fast Company.
Despite the original intent of the plan, the Freelancers Union recently stated that an overwhelming 84% of freelancers who have applied for relief have yet to receive monetary relief. While a similar majority, 86% of freelancers, have applied for relief in some capacity, the data suggests the process of applying has proven cumbersome, unintuitive, and confusing. Around half of applicants experienced problems with unresponsive phone lines or broken web systems.
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Freelance work is a staple of the music industry. Thousands of musicians, producers, songwriters, and tour crews would theoretically qualify for assistance under the terms of the CARES Act.
The Freelancers Union is making clear that this impactful sector of the workforce should not be treated as an afterthought, stating, "In the best of times, freelancers have operated without an economic safety net... We won’t let this crisis maintain the status quo, leaving desperate freelancers last in line for relief."