New York Governor Signs Legislation to Protect the Rights of Freelance Workers 

New York’s Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law the “Freelance Isn’t Free” Act, which provides protections for freelancers and imposes requirements on companies that engage with freelancers. 

Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation S.5026/A.6040, known as the “Freelance Isn’t Free” Act, which provides 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 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, building upon the NYC’s Freelance Isn’t Free Law, 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.

State Senator Andrew Gounardes said, “Whether it’s our contract electricians or domestic workers or our freelance journalists, all workers across New York deserve full, clear, and enforced labor protections. That’s why I wrote my bill, Freelance Isn’t Free, and why I applaud Governor Hochul for signing it into law. Today, we are making it clear that we won’t let workers be pushed around or denied their rights — not in Brooklyn, not in Buffalo, and not anywhere across New York.”

Assemblymember Harry B. Bronson said, “Freelancing is a major portion of our economy. Freelancers work very hard every day and prior to this legislation had very little protections if a client didn’t pay them for their work. This legislation puts an end to this abuse by requiring a written contract with payment provisions. It also provides for collection procedures through a private right of action or through the Attorney General’s office if the client fails to live up to the contract. By signing this legislation into law, Governor Hochul is ensuring timely payment for freelancers so they may provide for themselves and their families —Thankyou Governor Hochul. Through this legislation the State is saying to all Freelancers you and your work is valued. Thank you Senator Gounardes as well as the Freelancers Union and all the advocates for your work for this common sense approach to ending the economic discrimination against Freelancers.”

Freelancers Union Executive Director Rafael Espinal said, “Today is a good day to be a freelancer in the state of New York. This Thanksgiving we are thankful that New York State is committing to protections for freelancers under the law. We have the utmost confidence that NYS will lead the way in holding bad actors accountable and uplifting the independent workforce into the future. We are grateful to Governor Hochul for signing this bill into law and for our champions, bill sponsors Senator Andrew Gounardes and Assemblymember Harry Bronson for their commitment through its inception.”

National Writers Union President Larry Goldbetter said, “Every worker should be paid on time for their work, yet far too few freelancers have access to this basic right. We are grateful to Governor Hochul for taking action to expand worker protections for tens of thousands of freelancers, and look forward to building on Freelance Isn’t Free to combat freelance wage theft in New York and across the country. We also want to thank Senator Andrew Gounardes and Assembly Member Harry Bronson for their years of persistence in championing this bill and fighting for freelancers, who will now have far more resources to collect the payment they’re owed.”

Source: Governor Hochul Signs Legislation to Protect the Rights of Freelance Workers | Governor Kathy Hochul

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