Do you have a Freelance Isn’t Free success story? Share it!

Mar 11, 2019

On May 15, 2017 the Freelance Isn’t Free law took effect in New York City, establishing groundbreaking protections for freelancers from late and nonpayment. It was a victory for freelancers in the city, a blueprint for other cities and states, and the culmination of Freelancers Union’s advocacy efforts.

The strength of Freelance Isn’t Free relies on our ability to enforce it. To help us provide a pathway for more freelancers to utilize the law, we want your success stories. Have you successfully filed a claim? Contact us at advocacy@freelancersunion.org.

What is Freelance Isn’t Free?

The law covers freelancers who are earning 1099 income and are owed over $800 for work in a four-month period. It applies to sole proprietors who are not incorporated, or who are incorporated as either an independent LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp and do not have employees.

You can read the full text of the law here, but its most important provisions include:

30-day payment terms:
Unless otherwise specified in a contract, clients must pay freelancers within 30 days of completion of work.

Mandatory contracts:
Clients must use a contract when hiring a freelancer for over $800 of work and can face fines if they refuse to provide one.

Payment agreement protections:
Clients cannot require that freelancers accept less than they are owed in exchange for timely payment.

Anti-retaliation:
Clients cannot retaliate against a freelancer for pursuing payment.

Legal assistance:
A city agency will investigate and may try to collect on the freelancer’s behalf, and may provide court navigation services if needed.

Double damages:
Freelancers can collect double damages and attorneys fees in court, and repeat offenders can face penalties of up to $25,000

How you can get involved this year

  • Contact us at advocacy@freelancersunion.org to share your story with your fellow freelancers.

  • Attend our May 15 Freelance Isn’t Free anniversary celebration at Freelancers Hub, our coworking and events space, in DUMBO, Brooklyn. We’ll hold a panel discussion about the impact of the law and hear success stories from freelancers. Look out for event updates here and in our newsletters.

  • Encourage your fellow freelancers to familiarize themselves with the law and hold clients accountable, and let’s keep pushing for country-wide protection against late and nonpayment for freelancers!