On November 22, 2023, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law a statewide “Freelance Isn’t Free Act” to provide certain protections for freelance workers. The act mirrors the New York City Freelance Isn’t Free Act passed by the New York City Council in 2016 that protects the labor rights of freelance workers.
The Freelance Isn’t Free Act establishes and enhances protections for freelance workers in New York State, specifically the right to a written contract in some cases, timely and full payment, and protection from retaliation. Specifically, a freelancer who earns $800 or more in a 120-day period from one of more projects is entitled to a written agreement. Regardless of this statute’s requirements, we highly recommend that companies that utilize contractors and freelancers document their relationships in written agreements.
The law establishes penalties for violations of these rights, including statutory damages, double damages, injunctive relief, and attorney’s fees with a six-year statute of limitations. If you hire freelance workers in New York State, it is important to know your responsibilities. Employers must provide a written contract to freelancers. Employers must also pay freelancers in full and on time. Employers cannot retaliate against freelancers for exercising their rights under the law.
OGC Solutions® specializes in representing employers in the full spectrum of employment- and labor-related matters. Please feel free to reach out for assistance with managing your employees and freelancers.