Freelance Isn’t Free Act Passes in New York!

In a landmark move, New York City Council has voted unanimously for legislation that will protect freelancers from dodgy clients.

For the past year, the Freelancer’s Union has campaigned for the Freelance Isn’t Free Act. This is an act with a simple enough message: “Everyone deserves to get paid.”

But for freelancers in the US (and around the world) this often isn’t a reality, with 70% of freelancers reporting late or non-payment.

And these aren’t small amounts either; the average freelancer loses a staggering $6000 a year to cheap clients.

But this landmark act passed last week, setting a precedent for cities nationwide. If these policies were adopted across the US, a huge portion of its workforce – 55 million workers to be precise – would finally enjoy the same protections as their 9-5 counterparts. Here’s what this new Act does:

  • Contracts are compulsory, and the client has responsibility for providing them.
  • No more of that dreaded statement – “I can pay you now if I can pay you less.” Clients have to pay the full amount. Timely payment shouldn’t have to mean getting paid less.
  • Payment has to be received within 30 days of the date given on the contract.
  • Freelancers can file complaints against non-paying and late-paying clients with the Department of Labour Standards. If clients are found guilty of non-payment in a small-claims court, they’ll be fined.

This is really fantastic news for freelancers in NYC! Congratulations to the Freelancer’s Union for their successful campaign.

Interested in the fine print? Take a look at the legislation here.


Becca is the Marketing Executive at Twine. She loves literature, music, film and make-up. She spends a lot of time complaining about the mismatched angles of her winged eyeliner and stalking drag queens on Instagram. Otherwise, she’s helping Joe by writing blog posts and keeping Twine’s social media running.