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Historic agreement: minimum freelance pay for online articles

The collective agreement between the UJF and the public broadcaster, the Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle), for the first time sets out how much Yle will pay freelancers for online copy. This is also the first time that a Finnish collective agreement defines the minimum fees for material by freelancers.

The agreement, which is valid from the start of the year, stipulates specific payment rates within which freelancers can negotiate their pay for items such as interviews, news reports, columns, profiles, and features. Until now, the collective agreement has only covered freelance AV editors, translators and programme subtitlers.

Kirsi Mattila, the head of the freelance chapter of Radio and Television Journalists says that the addition to the collective agreement is the most important advance in living memory in the area of advocacy for Yle’s freelancers. Its impact will also be felt beyond Yle.

“The minimum fees specified in the agreement are fees for employment-based freelance work, and they are not directly applicable to other media companies in which freelancers work in an entrepreneurial position. But it’s easy to work out a comparable price when the employers’ ancillary costs are added to the minimum fee,” explains Mattila.

The minimum fees agreed with Yle also create an important momentum for freelancers who work in print media.

“The agreement is also an important step in terms of the whole freelance jobs market, as it puts pressure on media companies to pay fees that compete with hose paid by Yle,” says Mattila.

“The agreement is also significant for protecting the interests of freelancers. The aim of the Union of Journalists is to negotiate on the pay of self-employed freelancers, and when this so-called collective bargaining entitlement is realized it will offer offers a valid way of defining the minimum fee level for different types of article.”

Minimum fees agreed in the collective agreement:

  • Brief web item: €35 – €175
  • Web news report or news interview: €175 – €300
  • Opinion piece, blog, column or review: €175 – €400
  • Write-up: €420 – €600
  • Personal profile or feature reportage: €350 – €900
  • Feature article, broad, wide-ranging web article: €420 – €1000
  • Photos: Applies to photos taken to accompany an article. Minimum €50 per published photo.