Code of Conduct / Best Practices for Media Freelancers

Introduction

The project-based nature of the media industry lends itself to freelancing. It is common practice for companies to procure the services of media freelancers to meet the needs of the specific projects.

Through a ground-up consultative process with media freelance practitioners and hiring companies, collectively we recognised the technical and creative skills of our media freelancers in Singapore, and the Code of Conduct for Media Freelancers was developed in Q1 2020, with the aim to serve as a guideline to encourage fair and progressive industry practices/to facilitate and streamline work practices, benefiting both the media freelancer and the client. For more information on the process, click here.

Preamble

The project-based nature of the media industry lends itself to freelancing. It is common practice for companies to procure the services of media freelancers to meet the different needs of specific projects.

The Code of Conduct for Media Freelancers recognises the technical and creative skills of our media freelancers in Singapore, and aims to serve as a guideline to encourage responsible, fair and progressive industry practices to facilitate and streamline work practices, benefitting both the media freelancer and the client.

Let’s work together to raise the standards of professionalism for our media industry, and foster a healthy, sustainable working environment where we can all focus on producing good work, living in Singapore.”

Code of Conduct

I hereby agree to practise and uphold the following professional code of conduct for Media Freelancers:

WRITTEN CONTRACT, SCOPE OF WORK, PAYMENT, DISPUTE
  • I will begin all assignments with a written contract that is agreed upon  and acknowledged before the commencement of the service rendered. This includes:
    • Name of contracting parties
    • Scope of work and details of services, including deliverables and timeline, are specified.
    • Payment
      • Clearly stating hourly/daily rates, or by providing fixed quotes or reasonable estimates.
      • What is included in the fee, and where extra costs might be incurred;
      • Payment milestones with clearly specified payment period
      • Cancellation and late payment interest fees, if any, calculated from the agreed payment milestone upon the company’s receipt of the invoice from the media freelancer.
ADDITIONAL INFO
  • In practice, it can be difficult to draw up proper contracts prior to all assignments. You may use digital services such as Adobe Echosign to make these processes quicker. 
  • Whilst a ‘Whatsapp agreement’ is legally recognised under the Electronic Transactions Act (2011), it is not recommended as there are a lot of things you need to prove in order to show that the text messages are authentic, short of the court requesting Whatsapp for these messages directly from their server (which Whatsapp does not entertain)  
    • To double check with lawyer.
  • How both parties can vary or terminate the contract terms;
  • Both the freelancer and the client have the power to walk away/terminate a relationship, should the working relationship no longer be satisfactory. Terms of termination can specify how this is conducted. The same can be specified for any changes in the assignment as well.
  • E.g. clause: Unless otherwise agreed, either party can vary the terms of engagement as long as the other party agrees to such variation.
  • E.g. clause: Either party can terminate/postpone the contract as long as there is notice of <insert mutually agreed notice period of termination or postponement > days given to the other party in the form of a written documentation.
  • Disputes will be settled via negotiation and mediation first;
  • A clause in the contract that states that both parties will attempt to resolve any dispute via these methods first.
  • Clear terms on ownership of intellectual property, where relevant

INDEMNITY/INSURANCE

  • I will ensure that I have adequate operating allowances for both my freelance business as well as personal needs, and comply with all regulatory obligations in Singapore (tax returns, CPF top-ups, etc)
  • I will maintain adequate professional indemnity and other insurances as required for my practice.
    • This could include personal accident insurance, health and surgical insurance, equipment insurance.
  • For on-site work dictated by the client, I will ascertain whether the client has insurance coverage for me.
    • This could include Production Equipment Insurance, Commercial General Liability, and Work-related Personal Accident Insurance.

  • Production Equipment Insurance that covers equipment operated by media freelancers either owned by the company and/or rented to the company;
    • Covers against all risks of direct physical loss, damage or destruction to equipment such as cameras, electrical communications, sound, lighting and grip equipment that are owned by or rented to the company
  • Commercial General Liability;
    • Covers against claims for bodily injury (of other parties, e.g. passers-by who are injured by production equipment during production that was operated by media freelancers) or for property damage, liability arising during the production.
  • Work-related Personal Accident insurance;
    • Covers against claims for death, total and permanent disability and medical expenses due to work-related accidents for media freelancers.

CONFIDENTIALITY

  • Where there is relevant need to keep specific work-related information confidential, I will observe and comply accordingly.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

  • I will declare or avoid commercial interests that might hinder my capability or willingness to perform my work duties.

HEALTH/SAFETY

  • I pledge to be  committed to health and safety.
    • I will not compromise my own safety or the safety of my co-workers in the course of my duties.
    • To be proactive towards potential and existing hazards, promptly report them, and take appropriate action to warn others.
    • As well as speaking out or reporting on situations where others may be compromising the health and safety of everyone on the assignment for various reasons (e.g. cost-cutting)

ANTI-HARASSMENT/ANTI-DISCRIMINATION/ANTI-VIOLENCE

  • I will not discriminate, bully, harass, sexually harass, or resort to retaliation in the workplace or work-related situations, as well as practise zero tolerance towards such behaviour.

ETHICS

  • I will act fairly, honestly and transparently with my clients and be responsible and ethical  when dealing with a client company’s finances, property, products, partnerships and public image.
  • I will strive to provide quality work and deliver on time, and be punctual for all my duties.
  • I will fulfill my work duties with integrity and respect toward customers, stakeholders and the community. 
  • I will not abuse my authority, and am expected to delegate duties to team members taking into account their competences and workload. 
  • Where work is subcontracted, I will ensure that any agreed payment terms are fair and reasonable and such payment terms are complied with;

POSTAMBLE