The union has been fielding calls from freelance workers keen for information on whether they are still entitled to payment even if their work is canceled because of coronavirus.
The government advises that people who have been in close contact with an infected person should self-isolate for 14 days.
Head of Bectu Philippa Childs said: “Freelancers should not be missing out on pay because of the coronavirus.
“This could hit Bectu’s freelance members particularly hard. Unlike employees who receive contractual, or Statutory Sick Pay, many of these workers will lose thousands of pounds. We would urge engagers to accept responsibility for continued payment to keep potential infectors at home for 14 days.”
Bectu said some of its union members have lost “substantial pieces of work” after somebody working at Vintners Business Park in Kent, which is also the base for Maidstone Studios, was diagnosed with Covid-19 last week.
A spokesman for Maidstone Studios said that the individual diagnosed with coronavirus worked for an NHS Trust based at the same business park at the studios — and that the studios themselves have not been affected.
In a statement, Maidstone Studios confirmed that a member of the team at Vinters Business Park has tested positive for Covid-19, and that their team is “taking the sensible precaution of self-isolating and working from home.”
Maidstone is home to entertainment series such as “Take Me Out,” “Supermarket Sweep” and “Catchphrase.” Drama and comedy series such as “Inside Number 9” and “The Split” have also filmed at the studios.
There are a number of other businesses at the same site as Maidstone Studios, including regional broadcaster ITV News Meridian. A statement from ITV Press Office says the broadcaster will continue to review the situation: “After being informed that a member of staff from another organization based in the same building complex as ITV Meridian’s Maidstone bureau (tested) positive for the coronavirus, colleagues working there have been sent home as a precautionary measure. We will continue to assess and review the situation in conjunction with the relevant authorities.”
Bectu said it will be contacting the government to ask it to lobby insurance companies to cover freelancers for self-isolation, establish a system to cover any lost earnings due to self-isolation that are not covered by insurance or by employers, and to guarantee that businesses who cannot afford to cover this kind of absence will be supported.