• Advocacy

Freelancers left in the lurch

Unfortunately, we hear it all the time. “I work for a client who hasn’t paid me in months” or “The company I’ve been freelancing for never paid me.” One particularly egregious story recently emerged about Inkwell Publishing Solutions, which left about 50 freelancers without their owed wages (totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars) and then closed its doors. The New York Times cites one freelancer who is owed $13,000. These freelancers have been struggling to pay for basic expenses like rent, groceries, and health insurance because of this, and they aren’t alone. Freelancers Union has surveyed thousands of members in the past and found that 77% of respondents have had trouble getting paid as freelancers. Freelancing can be quite financially challenging. The gig-to-gig nature of freelancing leaves independent workers vulnerable to unstable incomes, and collecting wages that they are owed leaves them in an even more precarious position, since they have no government-sponsored mechanisms like Wage and Hour Claims to turn to. Freelancers Union is developing policy proposals to ensure that independent workers have resources to access when they’re unable to collect their owed wages. In the meantime, your fellow freelancers may be the best sources for information. Visit the Advice & Tips forum, where many members have posted their own suggestions and resources for handling deadbeat clients.