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.



Damon Trott

"It's not just free, it has a cost to someone. Freelancers shouldn't have to carry that cost"

Ginger Liu

"Free work is no respect."

Scott Rankin

"I should be paid for my work"

Sarah Nicole Campbell

"Because I deserve to be paid"

Aly berry

"Modelled for 5 years, too much free work"

Catherine Summers

"Because I'm a pro blogger and am forever being asked to promote companies and fulfil a long list of deliverables for free :("

Giacomo Gex



"I was asked to integrate two separate contract projects into the hours of one. 'cant you just fit it in', effectively removing the income from one of them so they got the second project for free."

Lucy Henderson

"I'm currently in a position where a client agreed on a daily rate for a graphic design project, setting no budget and insisting they were just happy to pay for the work I complete. Once the work was completed they took 3 weeks to contact me about payment but then disputed the time it took me and are refusing to pay unless I agree to accept payment only for the time they believe the work is worth."


"Seek Freelance Work"

Jacob Edward Cushnie

"I have outstanding invoices near £1000 that are over 3 months delayed. There are no responses to my messages despite numerous efforts to get in touch with the client."

Matt David

""There's no money involved but it will be great exposure for you".....the most toxic line of bullsh!t anyone will ever feed you. Exposure to what ? All those people willing to really fall at your feet to pay you ? yeah right."


"People exploiting creatives is not nice"

Emma Green

"Everyone deserves to be paid for their work"

Joana Ascenso

"Exposure doesn't pay bills. Makeup Artists are often way down in the totem pole and expected to work for nothing. It's not a hobby. It's our job. All work should be paid."


"No funcsun maich"

Daniel Jardine

"No to unpaid work."

Matt Harris

"Too many time wasters expecting something for nothing. Exposure doesn't pay the mortgage!"

Paul Worpole

"If it's free, it's not valued!"

"demotivates students to want to enter the industry"

Gulraiz Zahid

"because i am a free lancer"

Hannah Cliffe

"Because the fashion industry expects makeup artists to work for free. How are you supposed to build a career with no money to invest"

Amber Saffron Ingram

"I will NOT accept unpaid work or late payments! Clients don't understand how this can affect your business and i refuse to stand for it"

Aminat Duncanson


Vincenzo Costantino

"Is my job"

Maxine Harrison

"im a freelancer sick of late payments"

Chiara Fumanti

"I am a freelance actress and makeup artist and I am tired of not being paid."

Azeem Jiwaji

"Degrading, unfair, and businesses benefit from the work but the freelancer does not. It'sa big lie to con freelancers into thinking they will get work from it. You like the work then pay for it!"

Mukesh Mistry

"Been used for free work in the past"

Alexandra Moraitis

"I am freelance Language Service Provider (translator and interpreter) and have struggled to make ends meet, despite a high quality education and affiliation with reputable professional bodies."



Paul Collings

"No to unpaid work"

Vincent Gabrielle

"Self explanatory"


"I'm a model and make a living by my occupation. Free shooting is taking advantage of models."

Jennifer Corcoran

"I deserve to be fairly paid for my education, qualifications, experience and proven results."

Eric samuels

"To get work"

Jonathan Wright

"Isn't it obvious?"

natasha pinder

"I am not going to do unpaid work anymore."

Jessica Davis

"I've got bills to pay. Free work helps me in zero ways"

Sez Valentine

"Exposure and experience won't pay my rent."

Gemma Harvey

"Our time and experience is worth something"

Carolyn Banks

"Professionals must be paid"

Richard Nock

"people then expect things for free and it makes people who want to do quality work under valued. This lowers the pay for all."

Yana Binaev

"I see freelancers struggling to be seen and making a living. People must learn to appreciate work. Especially companies and all other sorts of clients."

andy white

"Because I'm incredibly frustrated by creative work being constantly undervalued."

Thisisfor schoolwork

"I'm writing a speech about how freelancers should be taken more seriously for school. I'm not really a freelancer."


"An alternative fashion magazine has been taking advanced on a freelancer creative , somehow need to stop!"

Melike Cinpolat

"People should be paid for their hard work, whatever it is. People should not exploit or be exploited!"

Kevin Rooi

"The word "Free" in Freelancing doesn't mean "Free work". If you value our work, you will have no problem paying other then asking for a favor. Just because I solely work for myself doesn't mean my work isn't worth the value of other companies. But never offer exposure as payment because you can't use expore to pay rent!! All I'm saying is "you don't get something, out of nothing you need to give some""

Lluísa Fàbregas

"There is a massive abuse from magazines and companies regarding any creative job, with the Believe of creatives need those platforms to grow up. The reality is, companies take profit and built their economy with the creative work that actually cost them money. And this goes forever.."

Dawn Marie Jones

"The industry has to change. It makes life really challenging when constantly being asked to work for free or for pennies."



Darren George

"Happy to sign although I still help up an coming Artists/Models with test shoots. Across the globe the Industry should do more to help Freelancers Earn for their talents"

Anna urik

"Fed up with the industry"


"Everyone has the right to be paid for their work no matter how big or small."

Eriol Fox

"I don't believe in work for free for for profit companies/projects"


"For paying me"

"New to freelancing"


"Complete lack of respect and exploitation of young people on limited incomes"

Christine Lucignano

"I am sick and F+*cking tired of Makeup Artists working for free because they are being promised; Exposure, Experience etc.... these are not new Artists, these are Artists who also do jobs on their own, in their own name. It’s destroying an already fragile industry"



Harison Dante Jerome

"No free work"

Lorenzo Garrido

"Bills to pay, life to live. Money required to do these things. Free work = No money. I live to do what I love, but it comes at a price unfortunately. Peoples talents should be valued!"

Kiah Jones

"I have worked for free and it made me feel exploited when other models got paid and I didn't purely because they responded to the casting call last minute. It is very unfair and degrading. If start-up businesses and new brands can pay for the clothes that they make then surely they can pay for the models wearing them!?"

Richard Csicsics

"I have had enough of people forcing me to work for free."

Sundal Roy

"cos this is damaging the industry"

Dao Muendorn

"Want to try it to see show good it is."

Victoria Prodan

"There is too much exploitation in the industry."

Elaine Ramsay

"Unpaid work denigrates your professional reputation"

Emma Le Blanc

"I am signing this petition because I am a freelance Career Adviser who is not being paid for the actual hours out of interviews I am doing outside of Careers Interviews i.e. researching and writing Action Plans. I believe all workers should be paid fully for the hours they are worked and treated with respect and dignity in the workplace."

Rebekka Arnold

"I want to be paid as much as my peers in full time employed jobs."

Taina Pemberton

"Freelancers should be taken seriously and paid for their work."

Emma Lord

"There is an expectation that as a freelancer, I will offer a certain amount of time and experience for free. People don't understand that this is my living. I am working to pay bills and to support my family. I'm not paid for taking leave, and I don't have a pension scheme. People don't see the hours of work which go into life as a freelancer. I cannot afford to work for free, and it's insulting to be asked to in return for 'exposure' or 'experience'."

Andrea Morrison

"I am a venue finder and my clients give me a remit to find a venue for conference or an event. Unit the client contract to the venue I work for free getting commission form the client chosen venue after the event. My problem is that after i have done all the work and sent the client the proposal they either say they do not want to go ahead or go behind my back and contact the venue directly. This can be hours or even days of work and don't get paid."

Mark Mitchell

"I have freelanced for over 20 years and this is a problem I have experienced myself. It must be addressed and stopped."

Kris Middleton

"90% of my clients would probably consider me a volunteer as opposed to a paid contractor. I now refuse to do any work until a discussion about being paid is had, and I submit my invoices the same day, expecting them to be paid within 28 days. Working for free does not pay my running costs or household bills, so I have become very selective with who I work with."

Pencka Gancheva

"Tired of being unpaid or underpaid"

Emma Read

"Many people have tried to exploit me over the past 3 years, expecting work for free in return for exposure. It's like they think they're doing me a favour! I will NOT devalue myself and work for free and want to encourage other freelancers to take a stand and say NO to unpaid work."

Maggie Russell

"Fed up of being asked to 'just explain this' or 'could you just check this before I submit my self assessment'"


"we all professional and work hard, some people try to be very cleaver to see many and try to get there work done by free work and use peoples"

Daniel Palmer

"Nobody likes to be exploited. A "thanks" and a promise don't pay the bills."

Ralitsa Panichkova

"I`m a tattoo artist and I get a lot of requests from people asking for free work in exchange of ``exposure`` (as they have a large number of followers) or trade services (that don`t match the actual cost of the tattoo)."

Tania Willis

"Opposed to the exploitation of freelancers & the devaluing of illustration & design"

Heather Tomlinson

"Am a freelancer"

Gemma Welsh

"Being 21 is seen before my 4 years of experience and track record of success - the expectation of free labour entrenches a lack of diversity, ignores skills & is hurting companies as well as young people"

Adam Desmond Wenham

"Professional work should always be paid. My talent and skills are valuable and it devalues me when people think they can get me to do free work."

Bianca Barratt

"As a freelance journalist, I have regularly come across the expectation of experienced professionals to give away their writing for free - work that takes hours to produce and that adds value to the company or publication. This usually comes under the guise of giving you 'experience', insinuating that all writers should feel grateful for even unpaid work and that even those with prolific titles and experience under their belts should still take on free labour to enhance their profile."

Rob Hare

"Together we should make sure this way of thinking goes away"

alejandro tamagno

"It's time to claim for the same rights as any other worker"

Aaron K

"Freelance creatives provide valuable services that help their clients attract customers. They deserve to be compensated for their efforts."

Jack Lister

"Professional work should never be done for free."

Mike Attridge

"Say no to all TFP as breaks UK minimum wage laws."

Abigail Stevens

"I am an illustrator and I want to be paid for my work just like everyone else."

Annagrazia Amorese

"I am a freelance translator. In Italy translators are seen as people who know language so there is no recognition of the study and the work beyond this job."

Kyle Hartman

"If you expect me to do good work, expect to pay me for it."

Lesley Rose

"I discovered a paid freelancer who had been offered a job and had his price accepted was sitting wondering why they didn't confirm. They had been looking for a freelancer behind his back, and were just dangling him on a string letting him refuse other offers of work in the meantime. Not good for him, me, or anyone else to allow this kind of unethical behaviour to carry on."

Peter Jones

"Sick of unpaid work."

Tina Hart

"We all must play our part in sustaining the professional and monetary value of freelance work #nofreework"

Gabrielle Attson

"This is why I hate the term "freelancer", and think we should stop using it. Too many clients take the "free" part literally."

Viktoria Mateova

"I'm freelance interpreter and altough I don't accept work for free often in the past had been underpaid or when there isn't enough work going around I have to do work for companies at reduced fee nowhere near the professional fee."

Aby Wojcik

"Work for a membership organisation that understands the impact of unpaid work on freelancers in the creative industries and the vital importance of paid work."



Neil Wooding

"Support freelancers and ensure fair value is paid for work done!"

Paul Scott

"Fed up of doing work for people then having to fight to get paid"


"We fully support this cause the furtherment of an agenda of respect for freelancers and their work."

A Designer At Heart

"I have been a freelancer for 5 years and always refused unpaid work. I had to make big life choices to do that, for example moving to China (from Italy) after graduating because it was the only place where I could find a paid internship. I truly believe unpaid work shouldn't be allowed so I'm happy to sign."

Ian Blaza

"I get sick of seeing freelancer websites that let people place job postings for freelancers that end up being lower than the minimum wage, or want a service for free. This has to stop. It devalues the creativity of the talented designers out there and also gives a false representation of how much design is worth."

Robin Walker

"It is unfair that companies take advantage of people, and exploit their eagerness to get ahead by suggesting freelancers do work for free."

Steph Whitr

"Requests by companies expecting to give photography services for free simply for exposure. Or expecting to give images to companies without them paying me a fee or even a hint at a website/social media credit - giving them free promotion of their business with zero compensation for mine."

Claire Murray

"Professionals who have relevant experience and training in any field should be paid for work undertaken. No exceptions."

Curran Music Creation LTD

"I feel very strongly about this subject. Why is it accepted that freelancers or companies in creative industries should expected to work for free?"

Abbie Lawton

"dont agree with unpaid work"

Social Republic

"Social Republic was created as a “new way”, an alternative to the traditional agencies. A network of freelancers that brings experience, flexibility and value to brand social media strategies and campaigns. An approach that enables the right people to be brought together on the right jobs, whilst providing and promoting creative and person-centred working for freelancers across the globe. Above all we believe in equality, respect and support for freelancers."

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."