The Freelance Isn’t Free Act – Are You in Compliance?

By Katherine Muniz
May 25, 2018

Did you know that New York City freelancers are provided the strongest protections against nonpayment in the nation? The Freelance Isn’t Free Act (FIFA) is the first law of its kind, and it’s been a year since it went into effect in New York City. Whether you’re a freelancer or an employer, it’s worth learning about.

Designed to combat the epidemic of nonpayment within the freelance community, FIFA was implemented on May 15, 2017. It provides that freelancers have the right to a written contract, timely and full payment. A contract must be written whenever freelance services are hired with a value of $800 or more in any 120-day period. Payment must occur within 30 days of service, or on or before the date agreed to in the contract.

Additionally, the law prohibits an employer from retaliating when freelancers exercise their rights under FIFA. A freelancer has the right to file a complaint with the Office of Labor Policy & Standards (OLPS), and if a freelancer brings a suit to civil claims courts and wins, an employer must pay double the unpaid amount, damages, and legal costs.

On, July 24, 2017, the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) published additional guidance on the law prohibiting hiring parties from including in their contracts a waiver of rights preventing the employee from participating in class actions.

According to a report issued by the DCA, FIFA has helped freelancers recover $254,866 in payments since being implemented. Whether you’re a freelancer or an employer, it’s important to know the law and its rules. Learn more at the NYC Consumer Affairs webpage.

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