7 out of 10 freelancers face client nonpayment at least once in their careers. For unpaid freelancers, client nonpayment can cost an average of $6000 annually. This is no drop in the bucket.
At Freelancers Union, we've heard stories ranging from a couple hundred dollars lost to many thousands. But it's not even the amount owed that makes this issue so grave - it's that in not paying freelancers, businesses are breaking a very simple contract that we abide by in this country: Work deserves pay.
On December 7, along with our City Council sponsors and supporting partners, Freelancers Union introduced the Freelance Isn't Free Bill at New York City Hall. This is the nation's first proposed legislation protecting NYC's 1.3 million freelancers against client nonpayment.
Now, we need YOUR help to get it passed. Access our easy-to-use tool to send an email to your district Council Member asking them to support the #FreelanceIsntFree bill - all it takes is 3 simple steps!
The #FreelanceIsntFree bill will offer much-needed protections to freelancers. Here's what the #FreelanceIsntFree bill means for New York City freelancers:
- Anyone who hires a freelancer must have a contract outlining the scope of work, rate, method of payment, and the payment due date
- The burden of having a contract falls on the clients – not the freelancer
- Clients cannot require that freelancers accept less than the contract stipulates in exchange for timely payment (ie: “We can pay you faster, but only if you accept less.”)
- Payment must be received no later than 30 days after the paid-on date
Included in the bill is an anti-retaliation clause which stipulates that clients cannot threaten retaliation against anyone for bringing a suit. Clients who do not provide a contract, are late to pay, or fail to pay a freelancer for work can be sued under this new legislation.
Remedies for a deadbeat client under the #FreelanceIsntFree Bill:
- Freelancers will be able to make a complaint of the Department of Consumer Affairs
- Freelancers may file a court action and litigate against the deadbeat client
- If the judge rule in the freelancer’s favor, clients will be responsible for the freelancer’s attorney fees
- If the judge rules in the freelancer’s favor, clients will be fined double the amount owed
- Clients who knowingly and willingly engage in the unlawful payment practices set out in the bill will be subject to a criminal misdemeanor charge.
More than ever, your voice matters. Tell your Council Member #FreelanceIsntFree and encourage your network, friends, and family to do the same. Let's make New York City great for freelancers!