This week New York City enacted the country’s first freelancer wage theft protections. If you’ve ever freelanced, you know the struggle of getting paid on time and in full what you’re owed. The Freelance Isn’t Free Act will require employers to pay freelancers by a date set in writing ahead of time or within 30 days of a project’s completion. However, these protections only apply to work that is worth $800 or more, either for one project or a cluster of projects within a four month period.
In addition to ensuring timely payment, the law prohibits employers from retaliating against freelancers who seek to enforce their labor rights. With this law in place, many freelancers should have better luck resolving their cases without court proceedings-- but if it comes to a court proceeding, freelancers with evidence of a breached contract can receive the money owed, $500 in damages, plus attorney fees. Get the full breakdown of the new law here.
Clearly things are looking up for freelance labor rights, but NYC is just a drop in the bucket of the freelancing community. You can sign this petition to bring the Freelance Isn’t Free Act to your city, and in the meantime, the Freelancers Union has a host of resources to help you get paid including their new app that connects freelancers with lawyers committed to protecting freelance work.
But first, you’ve got to write a contract. Learn how here.
P.S. The Freelancers Union is giving away an hour of free legal advice to a few lucky freelancers! Enter the contest here.
Photo credit: Unsplash.
Creative Community Developer at Snapfluence.
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