Advice and guidance for freelancers

Here are some helpful resources for freelancers in the industry who are currently affected by COVID-19. We will be updating the information on this page as we find new and updated advice.

Advice and guidance

Bectu are offering advice and information for freelancers and general advice for workers in the TV industry.

BFI have a Q&A page with information and advice for freelancers and self-employed workers.

Citizens Advice are offering financial advice if you are struggling with living costs.

COVID-19 – Support for the UK Television & Film Industry Facebook page is a group for TV professionals affected by COVID-19. People share their advice, guidance and update the group with regular news for freelancers.

David Thomas Media are offering financial advice and emotional support for creative freelancers.

Martin Lewis has been posting helpful advice and videos on his Twitter for the self-employed as new information comes through.

Money Advice Service offers free money advice.

Money Saving Expert provides extensive advice and information about financial help and a guide to your rights about mortgages, renting, bills, debt and overdrafts, credit cards, savings, sick pay, scams and many more areas during this time. 

National Debtline offers guidance on your rights and entitlement of benefits.

ScreenSkills has a range of training to support working safely in the context of Covid including free online coronavirus basic awareness on production training, recordings of safe return to set seminars with figures including Elizabeth Karlsen, Sandy Powell and Helen Scott from the new film Mothering Sunday,  or the teams shooting Death in Paradise and The Pursuit of Love, and other resources that can be found in the Opportunities or Resources directories of their website.

The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB) are offering advice to writers in creative industries including TV and film.


Financial support

Arts Council are offering grants of up to £2500 to individuals working in the cultural sector, including artists, creative practitioners and freelancers.

BFI and Film + TV charity COVID-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund - BFI and Film and TV charity have partnered to create an emergency relief fund. You can apply here for financial support for those affected by COVID-19, including a one-off grant of up to £500.

GOV.UK details self-employment and Universal Credit information and you can find out what you are entitled to if you are currently unable to work.

Screenskills Business Toolkit for Freelancers - thinkBIGGER! Ltd and David Thomas Media Limited have partnered for a free online course about financial support and help for freelancers during these unprecedented times, delivered online via Zoom.

Turn2us are a charity that provide financial support to help people get back on track. They also have a benefits calculator that allows you to see if you are entitled to any benefits during this time.


Mental health support

Film + TV charity has a 24/7 Support Line, offering confidential advice on the phone, live chats and email.

Mental Health Foundation has tips and guidance on how to look after your mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Mind are offering support for those worried or anxious about COVID-19 and advice on how to take care of your mental health and wellbeing.

Samaritans has resources for those struggling during this time.

TV Mindset is a new TV & film industry initiative that aims to provide support for freelancers, particularly with mental health on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

Voluntary Arts has launched #CreativeNetwork, a daily online get-together for anyone involved in arts, culture and creativity.

Young Minds offers tips such as how to look after your mental health while self-isolating and how to talk to your child about COVID-19.



Rates of pay

Rates of pay can vary depending on the company hiring and your level of experience. You should always agree a rate of pay in advance with your employer. Here are some pointers.

  • National Minimum Wage (NMW):
  • 21 - 22: £8.36/ hour
  • 18 to 20: £6.56/ hour
  • Under 18: £4.62/ hour
    • These are the minimum rates of pay employers are required to pay anyone within these age brackets by law. 
  • The National Living Wage (23 and over): £8.91/ hour
    • On the 1st of April 2021, the government brought in a National Living Wage for those aged 23 and over
  • UK Living Wage: £9.50/ hour
    • This is the rate of pay the Living Wage Foundation advise that employers pay workers, but this is not a legal requirement
  • London Living Wage (LLW): £10.85/ hour
    • This is the rate of pay the Living Wage Foundation advise that employers pay London workers due to higher living costs, but this is not a legal requirement
  • Apprentice rate: £4.30/ hour.
    • Apprentices are entitled to the apprentice rate if they’re either: aged under 19 or aged 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship. All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage for their age.

Useful websites for pay rates:


An invoice is a printed statement that you provide to the company with details about your work for them. Every production company that hires you should ask you for an invoice. If they don’t, then you should ask who to send it to.

Some companies, particularly large broadcasters like ITN, Channel 4 and BBC will have their own invoice and timesheet templates, which should be sent when you sign up as a freelancer with them.

If you haven’t been sent a template then you can easily write your own. Make sure you include the following details:

  • Invoice number (you create this for your own tracking purposes)
  • Full name
  • Postal address
  • Phone number
  • VAT number (remember you’re freelance so should be getting paid gross and paying your own tax at the end of each tax year)
  • Bank details – bank name, account number & sort code
  • Date of issue for the invoice
  • Name of the project (e.g. Day Shift, Home News desk)
  • What your role was (e.g. Package Producer)
  • Date of the shoot
  • Hours worked and at what rate (e.g. 6 hours @ £10/ hour)
  • Total amount of payment


Unless you agree a payment date, the employer must pay you within 30 days of receiving your invoice. After this date, you have the right to charge interest for late payment, but you can choose not to.

If you don’t receive payment, you can make a money claim or issue a statutory demand to formally request payment of what you’re owed. However, you should try and make contact with the employer before such formal proceedings.


Any expenses incurred as a result of your work can also be added to your invoice. Please consult this HMRC list of allowable expenses.

RTS Videos:

Useful links: