- What Freelancers Need To Know About The Freelance Isn't Free Act
- May 14, 2019
- Law Firm: - Office
The number of freelancers is on the rise. And freelancers often struggle with non-payment, late payment, or underpayment. In New York, freelancers have new legal protections under the Freelance Isn't Free Act, passed in 2017.
The Freelance Isn't Free Act offers some of the strongest freelancer protections in the country. Under the Act, freelancers can receive double the value of their contract for late payment, underpayment, or non-payment if the client does not provide a valid contract. To qualify, freelancers must have at least $800 of work with the same client in a 120-day period.
Under the Freelance Isn't Free Act, clients must provide a valid contract. To meet the Act's requirements, the contract should list the name and mailing address of both the freelancer and the client. It should also contain an itemized list of services, the value of the services, and a description of the rate and method of compensation. If the contract does not list a date when the client will pay the freelancer, the Act states freelancers must be paid within 30 days of completing services.
Freelancers without a valid contract can receive the most in damages if their client fails to pay in full or on time. Freelancers can take their client to court and receive damages for underpayment, non-payment, or late payment, plus additional damages for not having a valid contract. For example, if a freelancer with a $10,000 project does not receive a valid contract and the client refuses to pay, the freelancer can receive $10,000 for the value of the contract, $10,000 in damages for non-payment, and $10,000 in damages for a non-compliant contract.
Freelancers with a contract can also sue under the act. For example, a freelancer with a compliant $10,000 contract who doesn't receive payment can sue for $10,000 for the original contract plus damages of $10,000 for non-payment.
The Freelance Isn't Free Act also protects freelancers from retaliation and harassment. If a freelancer files a complaint and their client retaliates against them, the freelancer can receive damages equal to the value of the contract for each act of retaliation or harassment.
For example, a freelancer with a $10,000 contract who doesn't receive payment can file under the act. If their client harasses the freelancer and threatens to leave a bad review unless the freelancer drops the claim, the Freelance Isn't Free Act provides additional penalties. The freelancer can receive $10,000 for the contract, $10,000 in damages for non-payment, $10,000 for harassment, and $10,000 for the threatened retaliation.
Under the Freelance Isn't Free Act, freelancers have six years to file a claim. They can also file a complaint for not receiving a valid contract. Contact Charles Joseph, founder of Working Now and Then, for a free consultation if you have a claim under the Freelance Isn't Free Act.