The New York City “Freelance Isn’t Free” Act

The “Freelance Isn’t Free” Act aims to address independent workers’ complaints of late payments and wage theft. An independent worker, also known as a freelance worker, is an individual who works on a per-job or per-task basis, typically for short-term work in exchange for compensation. New York employers who use freelancers or independent contractors should act to become familiar with the Freelance Isn’t Free Act’s requirements and dedicate necessary resources to comply with its provisions.

The Freelance Isn’t Free Act requires employers to create and distribute written contracts to its freelance employees if the cost of a single project is equal to or exceeds $800 and/or if the freelance worker provided multiple services to the business within a 120-day period that equals or exceeds $800 in the aggregate. The contract must include at a minimum, the names and mailing addresses of the freelance worker and the hiring party, an itemized accounting of the services to be performed, the rate of pay, the payment date, and the date by which the freelance worker must submit to the hiring party a list of services they provided under the contract.

In addition to the contract, the Freelance Act requires freelance workers to be compensated no later than 30 days after the completion of the freelancer’s services. Further, the law gives the NY labor commissioner the authority to investigate and remedy complaints of violations. Freelance workers can also sue for violations directly in a private lawsuit in court.  Depending on the type of violation of the law, Freelance workers can recover double damages in addition to statutory damages, equal to the value of the contract, as well as attorneys’ fees and costs and pre-judgment interest.

Given the Act, employers and freelance workers should review their contracts to ensure they are in compliance with it. If you have any questions regarding your contract or want to speak to an attorney regarding the “Freelance Isn’t Free” law, please contact our office at 212-583-9500.


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