NYC Freelancers Catch a Break… And You Can Too!

In May 2017, New York City passed the “Freelance Isn’t Free Act,” benefitting an estimated 1.4 million hardworking New York freelancers. This law is good news for those in the big apple, as well as those around the country. I’ll get to that shortly.

First, what exactly is the “Freelance isn’t Free Act” besides a catchy name? It’s a first-of-its-kind law that protects workers from nonpayment or late payment for services rendered. Applying to contracts of over $800, this law establishes penalties including statutory damages, double damages, injunctive relief, and attorney’s fees.

According to, nearly 8 in 10 freelancers have faced client nonpayment at some point in their careers. Creating a law that ensures workers are compensated is a big step forward.

I know, you’re saying, “But I live in Iowa, what good does this do me?” To that, I say you’re looking at it the wrong way. Consider the Big Apple as a model to be replicated around the country. Roll up your sleeves and get a similar law on the books in your community.  Lobby local and state representatives, send letters and start online petitions. Better yet, join an advocacy group like the Freelancers Union and launch a campaign with some teeth.

With an estimated 54 million Americans freelancing, you have a powerful voice, so get out there and use it. Create a movement that protects your rights and allows you to focus on growing your business instead of chasing down payments.

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Mark Scherzer

Mark Scherzer is a writer and communications expert with over 15 years of experience. He’s worked for Fortune 500 companies, produced content for digital startups, written for television, created curricula for education companies and developed programs for non-profits. He is also the author of “Hire Me, Hollywood” published by Adams media, a division of Simon and Schuster.
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