It is unlikely that there is anyone among us who has not had to chase a client for payment due. The stats are that upwards of 80% of freelancers have had clients who have been slow to pay what they owe, or haven’t paid at all. But now help is on the way...
Since 2016 New York City has had a law on the books protecting freelancers from clients who don’t pay. Now, a bill has been proposed in the State Legislature called the Freelance Isn’t Free Act, that will expand those protections for freelancers.
On February 17, APA joined with other artists, writers, and freelance trade organizations to go to Albany for the introduction of a Bill called the Freelance Isn’t Free Act. We were ably represented at the Capital by APA-NY Board Chair Travis Keyes and Board Members Paul Ip and Jeremy Lips. They were there for a press conference to kick off the campaign to get this vital bill passed.
Why, even if you live in NYC and benefit from the law already in place, does this matter to you? Because this bill adds more muscle to that New York City law - and it covers more workers.
Here’s what the Freelance Isn’t Free Act, Bill S8369 will do if passed:
• Lower the threshold for the contracts it covers from $800 to $250 (or an aggregate of $250 over a 4 month period).
• Require clients to pay freelancers within 30 of completing the contracted work.
• Prevent clients from requiring freelancers to accept less than the contract stipulates.
• Prevent clients from retaliating against freelancers for pursuing payment
• It empowers New York State’s Department of Labor to provide legal assistance to go after companies on behalf of freelancers throughout the entire state.
• It also covers workers who live anywhere outside of New York State but do business with companies based in New York State.
• It allows freelancers to sue for statutory damages, and collect double damages and attorney fees.
The passage of this bill is not a given. We need you!
You can help the Freelance Isn’t Free Act pass by adding your voice to the fight. Here’s how:
•You can call your representatives and tell them to support the Freelance Isn’t Free Act!
Find your State Assembly-member here, and find your State Senator here.
•If you want to contact your reps but are unsure of what to say, you can use email and call scripts here. Customize them to express what you’d like to say.
•Share: You can help us reach even more photographers and other members of the freelance community by sharing information about the Freelance Isn’t Free Act on your social media networks. When you do, use the hashtag #FreelanceIsntFree. If you like, you can link to this article so they have all information they need.
PLUS: First up, the Bill needs to be voted out of committee so it can go up for a vote in June. It is important to get key legislators on board as soon as possible, so in addition to contacting your own Reps, please contact the following leaders, and ask them to support the Freelance Isn’t For Act, Bill S8369:
• Call or email Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie: (518) 455-3791 firstname.lastname@example.org
• Call or email Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins: (518) 455-2585 email@example.com
Now is the time to make your voices heard! Let's get this Bill passed!