The rights of thousands of New York workers are now being protected thanks to a new law.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation 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.

Governor Hochul Signs Legislation To Protect The Rights Of Freelance Workers

Don Pollard
Don Pollard

The bill extends protections to freelancers across all of New York State, officials say.

“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,” 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.”

The expanded rights apply to all New York State freelancers who are paid at least $800 for their services.

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"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," State Senator Andrew Gounardes said.

NY Gov. Office
NY Gov. Office

“Freelance Isn’t Free” Act Providing Payment Protections for Freelance Workers

The new law aims to 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.

Suppose an employee doesn't follow the new laws. In that case, New York State Attorney General Tish James can bring actions to obtain remedies, including damages and civil penalties, on behalf of impacted freelance workers.

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"Today is a good day to be a freelancer in the state of New York," Freelancers Union Executive Director Rafael Espinal said. "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.

Freelance workers would also have the right to pursue a private lawsuit to protect their rights under the new law, officials note.

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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.

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