Interesting European example - freelancers as employees via co-op model

This co-operative provides freelancers with the opportunity for employment status. The legal frameworks are different in Australia but the idea has merit. I wonder if this would be an attractive option?

See: Smart – the freelancers’ cooperative Smart Cooperative - Smart – the freelancers’ cooperative


Hi @Antony,

Smart looks like they’re doing a good job in addressing some core needs and problems of Freelancing.

Do you think it turns the Freelancer into an employee though?

Sure, they get the benefits of employment - income certainty, admin, insurances etc.

But the clients are not their own clients. the freelancer is not growing their own business.

To answer your question, yes I think it would be an attractive option. But are people giving up their liberties for securities? How might we maintain both?

Hi Jason. Good questions. It’s definitely about getting the balance right. My understanding is that the employment arrangement is not traditional but established for the purposes of getting regular employee benefits whilst retaining autonomy … and getting the bills paid via the co-op. I know there was a lot of talk about working with them a number of years ago to establish something like this in Australia but it didn’t go anywhere for some reason. Perhaps we could do an interview with them via RMIT FORWARD to explore the issues you pose? @petecohen

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@Antony - I’d definitely be up for a chat with the folks from Smart. Lets reach out and will see if we can make it happen!


Okay let’s give this a crack. Maybe see if we have some mutual LinkedIn connections with key Smart people as a start?