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What You Need to Know about the New York’s Freelance Isn’t Free Act

freelanceNew York’s Freelance Isn’t Free Act

New York’s Freelance Isn’t Free Act, officially titled Establishing Protections for Freelance Workers Act is a New York City law created to protect workers. Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the law in an effort to strengthen protections for freelance workers.

The new law establishes and enhances existing protections and ensures freelance workers receive:

  • A written contract
  • Timely and full payment
  • Protection from retaliation

The law also restricts companies that hire freelance workers from:

  • Creating waivers or limitations of rights
  • Including any provisions that limit or waive a freelance worker’s rights to discuss a contract’s terms with any governing bodies

The law also ensures there are penalties for any violations of these rights.

  • Finally, the Freelance Isn’t Free Act provides workers with the right to file a complaint if their rights are violated. Complaints are filed with the Office of Labor Policy and Standards (OLPS), which then notifies the hiring party who has 20 days to respond, at which point appropriate measures are taken to resolve the issue.

The OLPS also provides information to freelancers to help them find a lawyer, understand the legal process, and more.

In the past, freelance workers had very few protections and laws that were in place provided only ambiguous requirements, at best. This new law was created to eliminate those ambiguities.

Are You a Freelancer?

Determining whether or not you are a freelancer is a challenge for some workers. Freelance work can be referred to as:

  • Freelancing
  • Contracting
  • Subcontracting
  • Consulting
  • Gigs
  • Tasks
  • Projects
  • Side or contingent work w
  • Working on contract or spec
  • Moonlighting
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Alternative arrangements
  • Self-employment

As a freelancer, you are not necessarily an “independent contractor.” This depends on a variety of factors, including the nature of your work arrangement.

Preventing Retaliation against Freelance Workers

The new law also strengthens anti-retaliation restrictions that were included in the earlier Freelance Law.

For instance, it specifically defines an adverse action as:

“Any action by a hiring party, their actual or apparent agent, or any other person acting on their behalf, that can be considered a threat, intimidation, discipline, harassment, denial of work opportunity, discrimination, or any other act that penalizes or is reasonably likely to deter a freelancer from exercising any rights under the Freelance Law.”

Additionally, the law defines the value of a contract as “the reasonable value of all actual or anticipated services, cost of supplies, and any other expenses under the contract.” This is the amount a freelance worker could be entitled to recover if any of the requirements under the act are violated.

Seeking Legal Assistance for Violations of New York’s New Freelance Laws

Freelance arrangements can vary a great deal from situation to situation, which makes it a challenge for standard employment law to be interpreted and applied appropriately in freelance situations. The goal of the new law is to eliminate some of this confusion and create a more consistent system of protection for freelance workers.

In some cases, workers might not even know if they are protected under the new law. An employment lawyer can assess your situation and help you determine what rights you have as a freelancer.

If you believe your rights have been violated under the new Freelance Isn’t Free law or you have questions about a work you are providing on a freelance basis, we can help. Contact Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C. for more information.


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