Get ready to have your day made, freelance superstars. You may already enjoy setting your own schedule or filing reports in your PJs, but this news can help make the worst thing about freelancing — wondering when you'll get paid for your work — a thing of the past.
The Freelance Isn't Free Act went into effect in New York City Monday and says freelancers who earn $800 or more over 120 days must have their work, rate and date of full payment spelled out in a written contract. If no such payment window is specified, workers must be paid in full within 30 days of completing an assigned task.
Getting a signed agreement of your work may seem like a no-brainer, but a report from the Freelancers Union points out that only 28% of freelancers regularly work under written contract. What's more, about half of freelancers across the country reported trouble collecting payment in 2014 — if they ended up getting paid at all.
The provisions also protect freelancers from employer retaliation for exercising their rights. Contract workers who still haven't been paid within two years can file a complaint with the city's Office of Labor Standards (part of the Department of Consumer Affairs). The employer must respond to the complaint within 20 days or else face court, double payment of wages, attorneys' fees and more.
In the event legal proceedings do happen, the Freelancers Union also launched an app that connects independent contractors to attorneys who specialize in small claims and can take on such cases.
Making sure you get paid for your work? Groundbreaking. Soon you can freelance and be able to, like, pay your bills or buy groceries or whatever it is that people who work use their money for.
While the law is only established in New York City for the time being, here's to hoping it's a step toward larger-scale provisions to protect the 54 million freelancers who make up one-third of the country's work force.