Who should pay for your freelance voice?
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is calling on lawmakers to take steps to prevent the “fear and confusion” caused by the “increasingly popular” “freelancing model.”
The Chamber’s report, released Tuesday, urges the White House to establish a national voice-over industry task force to “assist the President and Congress in ensuring that federal and state agencies have the resources they need to enforce their law.”
In a statement to The Hill, the Chamber said it has not been able to verify the report’s contents but that it “is alarmed by the growing number of employers who are not fully aware of the requirements they must meet to qualify as a voice-in-demand employer.”
The report is based on a survey of over 4,000 voice-overs industry professionals conducted by the Voice-over Association of America, which represents companies that offer voice-to-text services.
The survey found that 41 percent of the respondents said they have been told they cannot offer voiceover work, up from 35 percent in the previous survey.
Only 19 percent of respondents said their company had a policy allowing them to hire voice-tweakers who are also freelance.
The majority of respondents were told that voice-writers have to have a degree from an accredited school and must have at least one year of experience in voice-voice production.
Only 14 percent of participants were told they can hire voice actors who are both voice-actors and freelancers.
Only 25 percent of those who were told the latter said they could, the report found.
A total of 41 percent said they had never heard of a federal law requiring a voice over agency to be an “employee” and 43 percent said no one told them they could.
“These are not isolated instances, but are symptomatic of a national problem,” the Chamber’s executive vice president of government affairs, Mike Bohn, said in the statement.
The Chamber is one of the largest voice-writing firms in the world, with more than 80,000 employees across seven offices in Washington, D.C. It employs nearly 15,000 in its Washington, DC, offices and about 3,500 in the state of Maryland.
The report notes that the government has not required agencies to develop rules for voice-outlets to ensure that their workers are “not acting as ‘agents’ of the employer.”
Instead, it has recommended that agencies be “more transparent in providing employees with information about their agency’s responsibilities, including how voice-workers are to be identified and compensated.”
It also calls for the hiring of “federal law enforcement officers to monitor compliance with the federal agency’s laws and policies related to the use of a voiceover.”
The White House said in a statement that the administration “is committed to addressing the issues highlighted in the report.”
It is unclear how the government is going to enforce the mandate for employers to have workers with the right level of training.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Labor said the agency has not yet received the report.