Definition: Unpaid work

Unpaid work is any scenario where a business exploits an individual for commercial gain by not paying for labour or services that have been provided by that individual.

Unpaid work can have a damaging effect on the relationship between freelancers and their clients. It creates an environment where freelancers suspect their clients of trying to take advantage of them, rather than a positive working relationship. Unpaid work not only devalues the individual but impacts the creative industry resulting in a lack of diversity, a diluted talent pool and a poorer economy.



Cecile Vidican

"I am sick and tired of being offered not only "free work", but actually work for which I have to pay!"

Jack Gunns

"To support no free work!"

Silvia Bettini

"I am a freelance illustrator and I want to make companies aware that ours is a job, not a hobby. Asking for free work is unfair and offensive."

Deborah Bush

"Solidarity in not under-valuing skills and products!"


"I support No Free Work!"

Priscilla Moore

"Unpaid work offers and competitions are scandalous! it's devaluing and encourages this to keep happening..."

Suzanne Abraham

"I spent a lot of time and money to become an artist and I'd like it to be my career And not just a hobby. Artists shouldn't have to do random jobs just to pay bills!"

Zorika Gaeta

"I work to pay my bills."

Yannick Lagher

"It's businesses we're running, it's a no-brainer that we can't work for no money!"

tanuja ramani

"I have financial goals and can not afford to do free work"

Rosie May Vernon

"Years of hard work to develop our skills as artists shouldn't go unpaid, it's as valuable as any other job."

Amanda Hilleary

"Artist deserve the same respect as other jobs"

Denise E McGill

"I've worked for free before and been burned by it."

Elena Shkvarkina

"Because any work is respectable to have its prise and its value."

Chelsa Cass

"After working for a “feminist” EOE for the last year, my work has never been more exploited. I’m leaving the company, albeit they have already profiteered from my work. No more."

Rhianna chadwick

"I am a freelancer"

Holly Exley

"Free work is damaging the illustration industry."

Simon James

"Let's stop accepting unpaid work and call out companies who are exploiting."

Mihaela Beleci

"I believe that we need to treat others like we treat ourselves.That meaning we need value the work we do and value other people work."

John Jonson

"I'm sick of it"

John Stimpson

"I'm sick of getting asked to work for exposure."

Megan Amis

"People need to make a living from the skills they worked hard on."

kate reynolds

"I think a lot of the time people think that creative work is a hobby or something just for fun. This is my full time job and only source of income so I believe I deserve to get paid just like anyone else."

Shyla Hassan

"No one should work for free especially if another person is earning from your hard effort"

Sofi Naydenova

"Because my business is not a hobby"

Benjamin Peters

"I had an experience where that I wouldn't want any freelancer to go through, I recently stopped shooting for the local press as I no longer feel comfortable offering a service for free. The client said "can't pay photographers a match fee so we predominantly use students. I don't think there's anything wrong with that as we're getting them into games where they gain much-needed experience." Meanwhile they get a service for free. I also had that the press had no idea I was a student when we spoke"


"No-one should be exploited in this way after years of eduction and work experience."

June Lim HZ

"It is time this exploitation comes to an end. You wouldn’t use “exposure” to pay for any other job in this world."

Miruna Popescu

"I am a freelance illustrator, I think my time and talent are valuable as I have spent years and resources developing them. I am tired of giving free audition sketches for projects that often lead to nothing."

Natalia Robledo Alcaraz

"We need to transmit why clients have to pay for our work, it's crucial that people understand the illustration work"

Lucia Penman

"Stop the unpaid work, stop the slavery"

Jenni Hughes

"Stop exploitation in the industry"

Catarina Dornelas Almeida

"Just like everyone, in this days everything has a cost or a price, I believe that one day this will end, we need to get paid when we do our work, it's important to give this a go to create a better society and freelancers can be more happier and have a better life. The payment is what makes us continue our career, to be able to survive and to be able to invest our work. I believe that one day this will change."

Georgina Garrigan

"I am an aspiring illustrator and believe that I shouldn't have to work for free in order to establish myself (other than personal projects of course)."

Anna Stead

"Accepting free or low paid work damages the creative industries and undermines the skill and talent of those who work in them. I strongly believe freelancers should be respected and fairly paid!"

Amelia Le Brun

"I am fed up of huge companies assuming I have no living costs and would be delighted to work for free, for 'exposure'"

Louise Connor

"Free work is ruining the industry"

Sneha Surendran

"Everybody should be paid for their hardwork. Exposure from a brand doesn't pay bills."

Hassan Torossian

"The damage caused by doing work for free affects everyone, so until money is extinct let's get real"

Lavinia Stefania Alamita

"I think all work should be paid!"

Sarah Parsons

"Its unacceptable to expect people to work for free."

Emily Bolter Designs

"I am a freelancer and this has to stop. Culture of clients who believe it’s acceptable to expect designers or other freelance creatives to work for free in return for potential exposure, is absolutely unacceptable. It isn’t acceptable to pay an employee less than minimum wage, so it’s not acceptable to ask freelancers to work for free or minimal money for products or time."

Joana Ascenso

"I believe all work should be paid"

Rudi Mehta

"We too, need to earn and have a roof over our head."

Sara Strati


James Cook

"It's time we all stood together and said NO to unpaid work. Yes, there are lots of grey areas but it's our job as freelancers to understand what is exploitation and what is not."

Ellen Grabandt

"I believe everyone should get paid for their time and products. Even though I love my Job it is still my Job, which means I need to make money with it."

Rachael Cox

"A PR Agency recently contacted me for a trial fashion shoot for Photographer assessment/interview for potential paid work as they were getting a Singer in and model. I arrived and did the 'trial' shoot. After they wanted to use the images to promote the singer on her Instagram page, (huge following) & model, plus to use on the Fashion companies Instagram and also The PR agency, I said a straight no of course. Other photographers are getting taken advantage of."

Osmán Martínez

"I want to work"

Gosia Byliniak

"too much exploitation going on"


"exposure doesn't pay my rent"

Raziya Jawa

"I am a freelance graphic designer. I work to gether"

Charlie Oginni

"I believe in this hashtag as both a freelancer and just as a human being in general, p.s great work guys. Charlie"

Priyesh Patel

"I am not working hard for free! I have a life to pay the bills!"

John Hill

"All work deserves payment."

Elizabeth Ringshall

"It seems to always be big brands who provide un-paid internships etc and I think it is a grace to the industry"

Larry T Hill

"Enough is enough."

Maria Torrens

"I’m not will work for free,I’m a professional photographer"

Sacha Morgan

"Cause I can't pay bills with exposure! Value our services."

Antonio Funaro

"It’s unfair to work for free"


"I believe in his."

Tommy Abad

"if you're good at something never do it for free. There's no such thing as a free lunch."

Kirill Samarits

"Why work for you, instead of watching Netflix ?"

holly westwood

"freelancer trying to earn a living"

Neraida Botsaris


Anastasia Jobson

"Frustration of so many people and companies expecting a freelancer to be 'building portfolio' on continuous basis."

Katy Hackers

"Tired of feeling worthless"

Chichi Eruchalu

"Looking for freelance projects"

Nicolas Incerti

"Every jobs/work deserve a salary"

Ayesha A

"To support the creatives and artists who work around the clock and put everything they have into their art."


"Build my name up"

Gavin Cowell

"Under appreciated, under valued."

Saif mirza

"I am freelance graphic designer. 7 years remarkable experience in the same field. I have done all type of graphic work. Here is my portfolio Email id. HIRE ME.."

frankie smith

"I have worked myself to death and near bankruptcy for unpaid jobs just as it will 'be great for my portfolio'. I am twenty years old with an incredible portfolio for my age and it belittles me and my talents to work for free for companies who will happily pay others but not the makeup artist."

Josy Bloggs

"I am tired of trying to make a living and being undervalued expected to work for free and not getting even the minimum wage."

Amelie arras

"To support and make sure I speak with peers that have the same issue as me: Sometimes i feel guilty if don’t do free work ..."

Gosia Gorniak

"No to unpaid work"

Lillian Nwaezenna

"Being a freelancer doesn’t mean my craft is free so run me my shmoney!!!"

Martin Jones

"everyone should be valued for the work they produce. Those who make use of free work wouldn't dream of working for free themselves."

Jevaugn Johnson

"Had many issues in the past"

Mary Gilmour Beasley

"Freelancers are artists and their work should not be devalued. Say NO to unpaid work and those taking advantage."

Joseph Dunn-Cooper

"People do not realise how much work goes into what we do - no-one should have to take on free work just to grow their portfolio - free doesn't pay the bills!"


"Searching of Work as a freelancer"

Vicente Mateu

"successful economy can only work is if all participants get paid for their work. No more fake promises to professionals in order to take advantage and make profit. We must pay our gear and equipment with no exceptions. NoFreeWork!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Brian Chidarikire

"In support for Professionals and peoples dignity in doing the work that they love"

Mr Reece A Straw

"You wouldn't dare not pay anyone who isn't practising in a creative field e.g Plumber, Joiner, Mortgage Advisor"

Abdel Abdulai

"To help others like myself ensure we are paid for all the work we do."

Adeel Hameed

"All work should be paid. Valuable time is your own. Individuals should not be taken advantage of if all they are trying to do is build experience and gain knowledge. Many companies use inexperience as an excuse to use and abuse people and think it's ok to not pay them. They ought to be named and shamed in public."

Michael Tully

"I was reading an interesting article:"

Joanna Tsaousai

"Muhammad Adib Zailan "Passion is passion, but if passion doesn't support the efforts of oneself, it doesn't make sense doesn't it!""

Trevaughn Omari

"We need to start valuing our worth and time as we as individuals, are our own businesses."

Chukwuebuka Emmanuel Nzeji

"I am tired of working with dubious clients who don't pay up after the job is delivered. I support #NoFreeWork"

Susannah Fields

"Because I believe that the only way a good and successful economy can work is if all participants get paid for their work. We all have bills to pay and have made significant financial and time investments in our businesses. Just because we are creative and love what we do, we shouldn't be taken advantage of."

Cecilia Righini

"If you turn down free work for exposure, someone else will take the job for you and companies will continue to take advantage of the next freelancer. We need to stop this chain."

Azzurra Piccardi

"Work needs to be paid, as respect of the time and the professional competence one freelancer give to the client. That time create value and that value needs to be rewarded."

Diana Andreea Tupilus

"No more FREE work, we spend too much time gaining these skills"

Rebecca Crew

"All work is worth something, how are we expected to live when everyone wants everything for nothing!"

Jo Neville

"No one should work for free"

karen barretto

"to have wrok"

Eno Enefiok

"I'm a freelancer in the creative industry and the demand for artists to work for free is increasing which isn't good. Art is work and it we deserve compensation for it just like anyone else would."

RHIANNON Evans-Young

"If people are working, they should be paid for it. Simple!"

Sol Maya

"No One Should Work For Free"


"Hiring Freelancers"

NSE Media

"Appreciate the movement"

Alessandra Boeri

"This happens way too often. I just experienced it again this week with an agency and client. I finished a project early because I was quick to edit(I was booked on a day rate with them) and yet, they only want to pay me half because I finished early. This is unacceptable. We don't get work fast for free, we work hard because we have the skills to deliver quickly."

Remedy Hair And Beauty

"Free don’t pay bills!"

Tonje Brattås

"Leading an campaign #jointheRIOT "Why are creative freelancers still under-paid and under-valued? It's time for change. It's time to RIOT. This summer we shine a light on creatives' visions on how this industry SHOULD be - and we would love to hear from YOU. Send your photo to or post your own photo with the hashtag §jointheRIOT to share your vision. Check us out on"

Justin Buehler

"I've been burned too many times submitting proposals and not getting paid for my ideas contained in the proposals."

Kieran jay johnson director @IAM CASTINGS

"As I believe in paying people for their time, skill and support. I have worked for free myself over my journey becoming a casting director. During this time I was told this was essential if I wanted to get ahead!! Which I now see as free labour. I also see that this culture leaves a certain demographic out and reduces opportunities, as they are not able to work for free to better themselves."

Simon Kristall

"With 20 years experience and having worked for some top blue chip brands, I’ve still been approached to cary our free work, it’s not been recently however. It’s nothing short of exploitation, and creates a false economy for the industry in question. Especially when those that ask are sometimes doing very well indeed."

Richard Myers

"We support hundreds of startups every year, including many freelancers, and far too many times we've seen them do free work on the promise of bigger work down the line. Business doesn't work that way. Do you know anyone who has taken their car to a garage to ask for a free service because they may want 4 new tyres and an exhaust in the future? Nope. #nofreework"

Paul Dwyer

"I support students in gaining freelance work at the University of Westminster"

Angel Marinov

"The creative industry is like any other and free work should be allowed."


"We've been campaigning against exploitation in the creative sectors for decades and supporting staff and freelancers who experience this. Well done on launching this campaign; we hope it will identify a will amongst policy makers to strengthen the law and the resources available for enforcement in support of new entrants in particular."

Dominique De-Light

"I believe all freelancers should be paid to ensure everyone has access to work opportunities. For a thriving creative economy it is important for diverse groups of people to have equal access to freelance work. At Creative Future we support under represented artists and writers, the #nofreework campaign reflects our vision of a more equal society and that's why we support this campaign."

Chaire Grace

"Too many Virtual Assistants undervalue themselves by either completing free work or offering their services for an unrealistically low rate. We want to sign up the to campaign in support of change to improve standards."

Elisha Miller

"I have undertaken many projects with the offer of 'Exposure' as payment, and not a single one of them has led to any further work or as claimed, worthwhile exposure. All it has done is taken time away from actively promoting my business and gaining paid work."


"Hard working people deserve respect and financial reward as well!"

Model Code Agency

"Sick of being asked to work for free"

Hannah Martin

"I believe everyone deserves fair pay for good work. As a freelancer I would never work for free on the promise of some future hope of work or other recompense. And as a business owner, I employ skilled freelancers and pay their quoted rates without haggling."


"The #NOFREEWORK campaign aligns perfectly with our beliefs that talent and hard work should be recognised and rewarded."

Francois Boutemy

"I believe industry professionals should be paid for their work to survive and thrive in their chosen career. Constant offers to create unpaid work for portfolio purposes only devalues the work of the individual. When you're at the supermarket checkout, you never haggle the price on the bill! Why does this happen with freelancers?"


"We support Freelancer's rights to paid work."

Frame Perfect Management

"This is our job not a hobby and we should be paid for our skills, creativity , time and effort."

Adam Edgell-Bush

"We are a startup that benefits from using freelancers. We want them to be able to live and thrive providing their invaluable services to companies such as ours."

Kelly Gilmour-Grassam

"We believe that all work has a value!"


"Everyone should have the same opportunity to follow their passion and prove their value. Therefore everyone should be paid a fair amount for work they do, with no exceptions."

karim Diomande

"I want to support #NOFREEWORK and for freelancers to have the opportuinty to earn a living"

Maik Jansen

"Any one working, should get a fair payment for that."

Zoe Green

"If we work for free we devalue the creative industry for everyone"

The Quick Brown Fox Video Production

"By posting or applying to unpaid work, people undermine seasoned professionals and possibly cause them to lose out on paid work."

Merité Media

"Because we are expected to provide expert quality services so should always be adequately compensated."


"We're fully behind the #NOFREEWORK campaign and support all the freelancers who work for us. Keep up the right work."

Katy Pollard

"I believe strongly in this campaign"

Jonathan Brigden

"We are an agency who sometimes have to do pitches to win work. We always pay our staff and freelancers though."

Christina Inge

"Freelancer for many years. Freelance isn't free"

Felicia Lannan

"All arts and artists deserve an income."

Mark Settle

"Working in the DJ industry, there's a running joke about doing gigs for exposure, and this extends into other sectors. My work has value, and I won't do it for less than I feel it's worth, nor will I ask anyone else to do it for exposure either."

Marinet Quinones

"I believe that all work should be paid, and on time. I hace clients who take a very long time to pay, months after the work is done."

James Shaw

"I have been a freelance writer and filmmaker for seven years. The amount of filming I have done for free would have bought me a house by now and it's very frustrating and caused financial problems, which I'm still unable to resolve. I set up my company two years ago and I'm still being contracted for a fraction of the cost. I also appreciate you starting this movement. Thank you ✌️"

Katia Herault

"We need to stand for social justice"

Susannah Marriott

"I've worked for free too often. I want to stop my kids doing it."

Arwyn Bailey.

"I am tired of being asked to shoot for TFP. I believe that this work should be outlawed, totally, and that a professional qualification, and ongoing CPD should be required of ALL creatives, just as a gas fitter or electrician is required; and furrhermore, ALL creatives should be required to carry requisite public liability and other relevant insurancez by law. Until this happens, creativex will continue to be exploited."

Dawn Baird

"Because freelancers and small business owners are getting asked to work for free and it has to stop!"

Kieron Jansch

"Unpaid positions, exploiting new entrants to the creative industries, undermine the value of those industries for everyone."

Karen V

"No free work!!!"

Drew Aspinwall

"The whole sector loses when people offer to work for nothing, nothing usually come so if it and only the wealthy can afford to do unpaid internships - if no-one is getting paid that is different - otherwise it is a race to the bottom."


"It's exploitation"

Ángela Manfredi

"It's exploitation"

Tarmo Tulit

"To support the creative industries and my livelihood."


"To support #NoFreeWork as I am a graphic Designer beginning my own design business venture"

Sue Bowerman

"Because things need to change!!!!!"

Gorilla Accounting

"We provide accountancy services for Freelancers and Contractors. As a result, we work with some really innovative, creative companies - no pay should mean no work."

Peter Carroll

"Working for free serves to undermine long term career progression and ultimately devalues a skill base. It undermines diversity of age and social class and restricts opportunities for talent to shine."

Novel Beings Ltd

"We believe that every freelancer needs to be paid for their expertise and services. While we are an intermediary business, we pledge not to put forward any unpaid jobs were everyone involved isn't getting out of it what is due to them."


"We all are freelancer who have 'volunteering' to work together to build a better future for the young people and as a group and a platform we commit to not exploiting individuals for commercial gain or misusing intellectual property of freelancers and we actively support #NOFREEWORK. Will add this as part of policy framework for our work we do and actively promote it to make it clear on where we all stand."

Tommy & Lottie

"Everyone is worth something."

Katie Carr

"Everyone is worth something."

Frank Bennett

"The number of people working as freelance/self-employed is growing and that suits individuals in finding a work/life balance and employers seeking flexibility. If this is to benefit both for the development of a fluid labour market that is the becoming the bedrock of economic development and needs of society then unpaid work is not part of the deal. I support #NOFREEWORK."


"We believe, strive, and fight for this campaign. Creative work should never be free, and we will keep creating conscience around the globe. Thank you."

FP Comms

"We supports everyone earning a living, including Freelancers. Love this campaign and I heard about this campiagn via East London Radio!"

Seventa Image Academy

"We support the #NoFreeWork initiative to ensure that our industry not only survives but thrives in the Freelance Workspace."