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Freelancers: This law's got your back

"Freelance Isn't Free Act"

  Times have changed.

34% of the total workforce are making their living working project-to-project, or working as part of the gig economy.

More people want freedom. Sick of the 9-5 deferred lifestyle. All the while waiting to live when life’s all but gone by. 

Freelance isnt free

 

Full-time freelancing has rapidly established quite a labor pool. Resulting in, 53 million Americans that’s 34% of the total workforce. Making their living working project-to-project, or working as part of the gig economy. – 2014 study conducted by the Freelancers Union.

The number of people looking to live that freelance dream is expected to grow at a rapid rate. As a result, by 2020, that percentage is expected to reach 50%.

There are many factors to consider before deciding to make that jump to freelancing full time, however new legislation in New York City aims to alleviate some of those concerns for its rapidly growing freelancer population.

Freelancers are generally tasked with not only being the talent, but being their own marketing, scheduling, human resources and billing department.

You can probably guess from the name of the law the “Freelance Isn’t Free Act”

One of the most persistent obstacles of freelancing is actually getting paid.

In 2015, the Freelancer Union reported that 70% of freelancers in New York were having problems tracking down payment from their clients and employers. So in theory, freelancing is great but shit in reality.

The most noteworthy, pieces of legislation demands that for jobs paying $800 or more freelancers must be paid either by a date specified in a contract or within 30 days of completion.

Additionally, it provides recourse for instances in which you get stiffed. Which means, within a timeframe of two years of nonpayment, a freelancer can report their employer to New York’s Office of Labor Policy & Standards. Furthermore, they will send a letter to the offending party citing their breach of contract.

If this results in going to court, the law mandates double damages and attorney fees be awarded if the judge rules in the freelancer’s favor.

As a freelancer however, going to court is just too expensive, and of course, freelancers  don’t have a lawyer on hand.  To aid workers with getting the legal ball rolling, the Freelancers Union launched an app in conjunction with this law that will connect freelancers with attorneys who specialize in these kinds of claims.

 

Before  you might be getting the benefit of dictating your own schedule and choosing your clients, those who hire you are reaping the benefits of significantly reduced overhead. Not having to shell out for health insurance and retirement, and leaving that burden on the freelancers.

Although only applicable in New York City, there is no doubt that this is the beginning of a new “flex” economy.  

To conclude, if your a freelancer or taking the dive, it’s not all dark on the otherside. There is support and with the growing numbers we can be sure more regulations are in route. 

Read the full Freelance Isn’t Free Act here and get the Freelancer’s Union app here.

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