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Filipino freelancers divided over ‘job rate guide’ released by PH Freelance Writers’ Guild

In light of numerous concerning issues that have risen in the Filipino creative industry these past months, especially within the freelance writing field, the Freelance Writers’ Guild of the Philippines (FWGP), a DOLE-registered workers’ organization, has released a rate guide for freelance writers that aims to be the foundation of a more humane and sufficient industry standard for compensation for writers.

A rate guide created by FGWP was posted on their Facebook account on December 5 in response to artificial intelligence exacerbating the situation for freelance writers. Many writers are accepting meager payments to survive in the profession. As a result, these common and tolerated exploitative practices continue to damage the entire industry.

“With a freelance labor market that seems to be bursting at the seams—apparently, anyone who knows how to use a computer can write content—many writers sometimes agree to low compensation just to land a project,” they said in their official release. “This automatically lowers the bar for freelance writers’ compensation and is essentially seen as very damaging to the community and industry, in general. The sad reality? Writers who charge rates that are fair will lose projects to those who accepts contracts for a pittance.”

“There is also a lack of existing guidelines that should be a standard for freelancer rates. Because of this, there are no restrictions as to how low clients can go when it comes to paying their freelancers,” they continued.

According to FGWP, this guide can serve as a basis for how a writer’s output should be compensated. The price range of the rate for a corresponding writing task is stated from the average and high payment for basic outputs such as creating content posts, sales or letter pages, and translation. Besides that, rates for social media copy, script writing, accomplishment reports, documentation, interviews, and editing and proofreading are included.

However, these rates do not include revision fees, rush fees, and other fees, unless stated otherwise. Moreover, FGWP also encourages freelancers to use a signed agreement before starting a project. In the agreement, indicate the scope of work, agreed cost, and terms of payment. It is said that a down payment is always advisable.

This guideline set by the guild was well-received by many social media users who are also freelancers who shared the same struggle of receiving unreasonable salaries from clients.

Rate Guide comment 1 Rate Guide comment 2 Rate Guide comment 3 Rate Guide comment 4 Rate Guide comment 5

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via Facebook

However, despite this, several individuals shared their criticisms and suggestions regarding the released rates, pointing out various issues like inaccuracies with the pricing as it remains inadequate for a livable and sustainable career and how the “one size fits all” rate is not applicable on many projects as it still depends on the quality and the writer’s needs.

Rate Guide comment 6 Rate Guide comment 7 Rate Guide comment 9 Rate Guide comment 10 Rate Guide comment 11 Rate Guide comment 12 Rate Guide comment 13 Rate Guide comment 14Although this is the case, FGWP reminded in their post, “In the absence of industry-standard rates, which are not ideal anyway, freelance writers can use this rate guide as basis for their costing, and by no means as an absolute reference for pricing. Final figures and terms must always be based on specific considerations.”

Furthermore, the suggested guide is also said to be based on two previous surveys conducted by the guild, current average market rates, and first-hand experience of several of the guild’s members — many are long-time freelance writers and editors.

The FWGP is a workers’ association created in 2011 with the primary objective of protecting and safeguarding the rights and welfare of Filipino freelance writers, as well as supporting the writers’ professional development. More importantly, they are recognized by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Recently, many workers from the creative industry have been starting a discussion about the constant problem of exploitation with low and unfair compensation being given by clients to freelance creatives. For instance, the previous story of a Filipino freelance photographer calling out his previous client and the entire industry for the prevalent low-ball transactions.


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