The “Freelancers Aren’t Free” Act codifies a number of regulations designed to protect freelancers from getting stiffed by their clients.
According to Gothamist the bill’s provisions include:
Under the provisions of the bill, employers will have a 30 day window after a freelancer renders services (or after an agreed-upon date) to make payment in full. They will also be required to provide a written contract to freelancers working on projects for which they will be paid $800 or more.
Freelancers who bring successful litigation against employers in breach of the law will be entitled to double damages as well as attorneys’ fees. Employers will also be prohibited from retaliating against freelancers who seek to enforce their labor rights.
The bill also establishes a formal mechanism for the director of the Department of Consumer Affairs to enforce the labor rights of freelancers who are stiffed by employers.
The bill is awaiting Mayor de Blasio’s signature.
I don’t think this bill has gotten much press, but it’s going to have wide-ranging impact beyond simply protecting those who are regarded as freelancers. Even though few have made the connection, this bill will also protect the “contractors” who make a living in the gig, or servants as a service, industry.
According to the Freelancer’s Union, 38% of workers in NYC freelance. That figure grows to 55 million when we consider the entire US, which means that if other states follow NYC’s lead this could affect everyone from Uber to Amazon.
image by markus spiske