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Freelance Isn't Free (in New York)

Posted on 12.20.2016

Big changes are on the horizon for freelancers in New York City and those that employ them.

The “Freelance Isn’t Free Act (FIFA)” was passed by the city council in New York back in October and will officially go into effect in May 2017, leaving employers just a few months to wrap up any loose ends and ensure they're in compliance. 

What is so noteworthy about the FIFTA law is that it requires written contracts for freelance projects worth $800 or more over a six-month period, and will allow freelancers to file complaints with the Department of Labor Standards against non- and late-paying clients, as well as institute penalties against those found guilty of nonpayment.

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The Freelancers Union, an advocacy organization for independent workers, called the passing of the law a “historic moment,” “landmark victory” and a “testament” to what can happen when people come together around a common cause. 

“Today, 38 percent of workers in NYC freelance and it’s about time our labor laws were updated to protect freelancers,” said Laura Brocket Murphy. “With 55 million Americans freelancing across the country, we hope to replicate this legislation in other freelance-friendly cities across the nation.”

If you're a small business owner operating in New York City which uses freelancers, or simply want to prepare should a similar law be passed in your city or state, consider consulting with an attorney to review existing contracts and practices concerning hiring independent contractors.


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