A new bill just signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul known as the “Freelance Isn’t Free” Act, will provide protections, rights, and opportunities for recourse to freelance workers experiencing non-payment for their services.
“Every single New Yorker deserves to be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace, whether they’re a full-time, part-time, or freelance worker,” Governor Hochul said. “As freelance work becomes more and more common, we need laws to have strong protections to ensure these individuals are paid fairly for the work they do. This new law is a major step forward for this critical sector of our workforce.”
Legislation S.5026/A.6040 extends protections to freelancers across all of New York State, by adding oversight and enforcement from the New York State Attorney General’s Office. This law will protect freelancers by establishing a right to a written contract with certain terms, timely and full payment, and protection from retaliation and discrimination for exercising these rights. The Attorney General can bring actions to obtain remedies, including damages and civil penalties, on behalf of impacted freelance workers. Freelance workers would also have the right to pursue a private lawsuit to protect their rights under the new law.
These expanded rights and protections will apply to covered freelancers being paid at least $800 for their services. The Department of Labor will provide model contracts on its website for freelancers and hiring parties to use with terms that comply with this new law.