The Freelance Isn't Free Act

LanceBase

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What is the Freelance Isn't Free Act?

On Oct. 27, 2016 the New York City Council voted unanimously to pass the Freelance Isn’t Free Act, the country's first law to help protect freelancers against nonpayment. The law mandates that freelancers be paid in full for work worth $800 or more over 120 days, either by a date set forward in writing or within 30 days of completing an assigned task. The Freelance Isn't Free Act also aims to protect freelancers from employer retaliation, for exercising their rights. Contract workers who still haven’t been paid within two years can file a complaint with the city’s Office of Labor Standards. The employer must respond to the complaint within 20 days or face court, double payment of wages, attorneys’ fees and other monetary consequences.

NYC's Local Law 140 of 2016

Reports 📂
Legislation Details .pdf
Legislation Text .pdf
Legislation Details w/ Text .pdf

How to get involved
If you would like to advocate for expanding protections nationally, bringing this to the attention of your elected officials is a step in the right direction. Ask them how the legislative process works in your district, and what you can you do to help bring FIFA to your state. Ask them to get behind this movement.

Directory of Legislators:
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witchwriter

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wow I did not know about this.
-holds up sign-
UNION!
 

GigMistress

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I seem to be in the minority here, but as a longtime (30 year) freelancer, I HATE this ordinance and similar "protections." One of the most common complaints I hear from freelancers is that clients don't respect them, don't treat them as peers, view them as employees, etc. There's nothing that undermines the idea of a freelancer as an independent business person just like the client like a law that says we need to be protected from the big bad clients because we're just helpless little worker bees.

I'm a professional running a business, and I interact with my clients as fellow business owners and am perfectly capable of negotiating, enforcing contracts, etc. on my own. The last thing I want is some "helpful" governmental entity casting me in the role of prey that needs to be protected.
 

workathomeDJ

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I seem to be in the minority here, but as a longtime (30 year) freelancer, I HATE this ordinance and similar "protections." One of the most common complaints I hear from freelancers is that clients don't respect them, don't treat them as peers, view them as employees, etc. There's nothing that undermines the idea of a freelancer as an independent business person just like the client like a law that says we need to be protected from the big bad clients because we're just helpless little worker bees.

I'm a professional running a business, and I interact with my clients as fellow business owners and am perfectly capable of negotiating, enforcing contracts, etc. on my own. The last thing I want is some "helpful" governmental entity casting me in the role of prey that needs to be protected.
Thank you! We may be in the minority, but I feel the same. I didn't go into freelancing to have guarantees. If I was seeking protection in my employment, I would go get a full time job somewhere. This is a business, we are business people, not employees. We do this for the freedom, not the security. That's the great part. The hard part is that you have to learn to negotiate, get paid, and make sure your clients stick to a contract. That's hard, but as a freelancer it's now part of your job. If you can't handle not having a regular paycheck, a 401K, and health insurance provided by someone else, then go get a full time job.

If you can't get paid, that's on you. A client stiffs you? That's on you. Scope got out of control? That's all you. Grow up, it's called running a business.

This is partially how the AB5 bill in California came about. Some legislator thought gig workers and freelancers needed "protection" from the big bad companies. The more we start legislating freelance work, or trying to unionize, the more we are going to erase the opportunity of being our own boss.
 

Writer4Life

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Phil Shawe of TransPerfect wrote an op-ed about this in Crain's New York Business this week. He brings up some similar points from the freelance translator point of view.

https://www.crainsnewyork.com/op-ed/dont-duplicate-californias-freelance-headache

Thoughts?

I know the times when I was a freelancer -- and my wife worked freelance, too -- we definitely relished the freedom, paid the taxes, tracked expenses. And were really fine with it. When we craved the indoors again, hahaha, we went back full-time. And usually got to employ great freelancers for our teams, too.
 

workathomeDJ

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If you can't get paid, that's on you. A client stiffs you? That's on you. Scope got out of control? That's all you. Grow up, it's called running a business.
Wow. I just reread this from my post and it's way too harsh. I must have had too much coffee that day. Or maybe I was trying to myself something. Hmmm.
 

workathomeDJ

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That's a great article, thanks for sharing. The point about taxes and expenses is one of my main concerns about these laws. In California, they say that all you need to do is create an LLC and you're protected. It's true, but it costs $800/year just to maintain an LLC and the state collects more taxes. It's a great situation for the State of California.
I'm glad someone is raising the red flag in New York. While I believe that workers have the right to organize, I also believe independent contractors/freelancers have the right to remain independent if they choose. Any new bills like this need to be written more thoughtfully, with everyone's interests in mind.
 
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