Freelancers are faced with the arduous task of keeping track of the several moving parts of their personal business. Not only do deliverables need to be produced on time, but networking is key to being a successful freelancer, as is taking the time to continue to learn about their craft, as well as, of course, keeping track of all client work and payments. Unfortunately, even the most organized of freelancers can still have issues with payment. Almost all freelancers have experienced the frustration of late payment or no payment for services. Until recently, they have had nowhere to turn when in such situations. It is for this reason that, on October 27 at 7:30pm, New York City freelancers will gather in Freelancers Union HQ, on the second floor of 408 Jay St., for a party in support of support of NYC’s Freelance Isn’t Free Act.
There are millions of freelancers living in New York City, and over 70% of them have experienced issues with getting paid for their services. Many of them are forced to wait months for payment, or to accept a lesser payment than the agreed upon rate in order to get paid at all. Freelancers have to hire attorneys to fight clients who do not pay the full amount on time, however even paying for an attorney, which many cannot afford, does not guarantee full payment. Getting paid sometimes seems like an impossible feat, which is why City Councilmember Brad Lander introduced the Freelance Isn’t Free Act.
The stipulations in this act are numerous. For example, any client who hires a freelancer for $800 or more must provide a contract that states the exact parameters of work, the method of payment, and the date the payment is due. No client can lower the amount of payment once the contract is signed, and the money must be in the freelancer’s hands no more than 30 days after the date specified. Additionally, the Freelance Isn’t Free Act protects freelancers from delinquent clients. If a client’s actions go against what is stipulated in the act, freelancers can complain to the Department of Consumer Affairs, as well as file a court action against said client. The client may be responsible for paying double damages and attorney fees the freelancer incurs if the judge rules in the freelancer’s favor as well and, if the freelancer wins the suit, the client may face fines.
The Freelance Isn’t Free Act, if passed, would empower New York City freelancers to do their work without worrying about whether or not they will get paid what they are owed. It would rid the city of stories of freelancing parents who are forced to pull their kids from private school because they are routinely not paid what they were promised, and of freelancers who cannot pay medical bills because they have been waiting months for an outstanding payment of thousands of dollars.
In any case, the Freelance Isn’t Free Act is a necessary step towards ensuring that freelancers are paid in full for their services. The Freelancers Union has for decades been dedicated to advocating for freelancers all over the United States. Membership is free, and it gives freelancers access to benefits, protections, events, and more. The Union listens to the struggles of their freelance community, which is how the Freelance Isn’t Free Act came into being in the first place, and organizing a party in support of the campaign. They urge freelancers to join the fight to pass this act, not only because it will benefit freelancers who have not gotten paid for their services in the past, but because it will benefit the entire industry. This act has the potential to prevent bad clients from hiring freelancers in the first place, as well as to increase the value of individual freelancers and to raise the standards of the freelance industry as a whole.
The party will be held on October 27th at 7:30 pm at the Freelancers Union HQ in Downtown Brooklyn. City Council members Brad Lander and Raphael Espina, as well as Freelancers Union founder and executive director Sara Horowtiz will be on hand, as well as campaign supporters and volunteer activists. Additionally, you can go to their website to sign a petition supporting the act.