The New York State Senate passed S8369B, colloquially known as the “Freelance is not Free” law, which ensures that any freelancer hired by a company must be provided with a written contract with a stated pay date. If no date is provided, they must be paid within 30 days.
The law extends a previous 2017 law specific to New York City to the entire state. The success of the 2017 “Freelance Isn’t Free” bill provided the impetus for its statewide passage. Although S8369B specifically benefits New York freelancers, it also covers any freelancer who lives in other states but does business with a New York-based company.
The bill requires any job that pays more than $250 to have a written contract and also requires freelancers to be paid in a timely manner. If this “timely means” is not specified in the contract, freelancers are guaranteed full payment within 30 days.
Additionally, S8369B includes a provision that prohibits companies from retaliating against freelancers who seek payments based on rights granted to them by law. Companies that violate any of the provisions of the law are subject to penalties of up to $25,000.
WE DID IT! The New York State Assembly passed the Freelance Isn’t Free Act (A9368A), which will provide basic workplace protections to thousands of freelancers. Thanks to our sponsor @HarryBBronson for fighting for freelancers and getting us across the finish line!
— Independent Solidarity Project (@FSP_NWU) June 3, 2022
“Independent contractors, unprotected by the same minimum wage laws as regular employees and generally ineligible for unemployment and workers’ compensation, are among our state’s most vulnerable workers when it comes to wage theft. “, says the bill.
“By establishing basic protections against some of the most pernicious labor practices, Freelance Isn’t Free will help support a key component of the modern workforce that is currently unprotected by labor law in the world. ‘State,’ he continues. “All workers in our state deserve the right to fair and timely compensation, regardless of the nature of the work, and bills such as the Free Speech Act will play a key role in compelling employers to guarantee this reality.
The bill has received support and is being praised by the National Press Photographer’s Association (NPPA).
“There are already provisions in place that help protect staff employees, but it also creates parity for the self-employed,” said Mickey H. Osterreicher, general counsel for the NPPA. PetaPixel.
“Often we will see photographers being sent on assignments without a written contract first and then being presented with a contract with very unfavorable terms when the assignment is already over,” he adds. “Or we see cases of photographers waiting months and months to get paid. This really needed to be addressed, and we’re glad it was.
The NPPA says it sees similar moves for laws like New York’s S8369B, as Freelance Isn’t Free in California. Osterreicher says it’s possible a national bill will surface that will provide those protections at the federal level.
“If the people who hired photographers did the right thing, we wouldn’t have anything to worry about. But people who play fast and free with people who live freelance, this law creates a lot of protections for photographers and adds significant liabilities for those who don’t respect the rights of freelancers,” he says.
New York Bill S8369B has passed both the State Assembly and the State Senate and is expected to go to the Governor for signature or veto.
Picture credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.