“Freelance Isn’t Free” bill aims to improve working conditions for New York freelancers

A New York city councilman introduced a bill last week that would require employers to use written contracts with freelancers and pay their invoices within 30 days.

According to an article in the Washington Post, Councilman Brad Lander was inspired to introduce the bill by the Freelancers Union, a U.S. organization that advocates for freelancers. The Freelancers Union has been campaigning under the slogan “Freelance Isn’t Free” this fall in an attempt to draw attention to the problem of nonpayment of freelancers by deadbeat clients. After a recent survey, the organization determined that freelancers in the U.S. lose an average $6,400 a year to wage theft.

In addition to requiring written contracts and 30-day payment terms, the bill, if passed, would allow freelancers to make complaints against nonpaying clients to the Department of Consumer Affairs in New York. If the freelancer litigates against a deadbeat client and wins, the client will be responsible for the legal fees incurred. If found guilty, the client will also be fined double the amount owing to the freelancer. Criminal misdemeanor charges are also possible against employers who “knowingly and willingly engage in the unlawful payment practices set out in the bill.”

In a statement on his website, Councilman Lander said the bill is “first-of-its-kind legislation that would provide freelancers with protection from nonpayment.” New York city council has taken other steps to protect workers recently. Earlier this fall, New York mayor Bill Blasio signed a law creating the Office of Labor Standards to enforce employment laws and educate workers about their rights.


Posted on December 15, 2015 at 11:54 am by editor · · Tagged with: ,

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