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A higher minimum wage for freelances - how would that work, then?

THE THINK-TANK Demos produced a report at the end of last year arguing that there should be a minimum wage for freelances. Specifically, The Low Pay Commission should estimate the financial cost to self-employed people of not receiving important employee benefits, such as sick pay and maternity cover. This calculation should inform the creation of a "Self-Employed National Living Wage" and a "Self-Employed National Minimum Wage".

Just for fun, apparently, it introduces the term "liquid worker". It seems the bulk of the research behind the report focused on the likes of Deliveroo operatives in the "gig economy" and on the lack of access for the self-employed to "financial services" such as mortgages and, er, sick pay.

Its first recommendation is that "Government should work with organisations beyond the public sector - trade unions or financial institutions seem viable candidates - to help them establish universal portable benefit schemes for liquid workers, modelled on the Ghent System. These schemes should offer liquid workers those benefits typically reserved for employees, including sick pay and holiday pay."

What's the "Ghent System", then? "A system of relief from unemployment involving government subsidies to unemployment funds run by trade unions." it says here. So: that'd be privatised, or at least non-governmental, National Insurance, then.

A period of deep pondering by the Freelance will, we hope, be followed by an update.