Important New Rights for Freelancers in NYC
New York City Passes Freelancer Wage Protection Law
The new law covers individuals who provide services, and is only available in the City of New York:
New York City | Queens | Brooklyn | The Bronx
What Does This New Law Mean for Me, as a Freelancer?
It basically gives you the same state law labor rights as employees have. This is HUGE. It gives you the right to double damages – $2,000.00 for every $1,000.00 of the agreed price of the work.
If you win, the company will have to pay you a 100% penalty, plus your attorneys’ fees and your court costs.
Why will it be different now?
Now you will be able to get a lawyer to sue without paying out of pocket. This is called: “Contingency Fee” You Don’t Pay any Legal Fee , Unless You Win
- Then the attorney gets a percentage of the fee. You have nothing to lose!
- The people that hired you will have to take your lawsuit more seriously now, because they will have to pay double damages.
- They will have to pay your attorney’s fees if they lose, which could be more than the amount that you were supposed to be paid in the first place.
- In practical terms, this also means that your case will be easier to settle, and will resolve in less time.
What if the company never gave me anything in writing saying how much I’d be paid?
- A written contract is now required.
- If you asked for a written contract and none is given to you, that’s a violation that you can now sue for, in and of itself.
- In employment law cases, if the employer doesn’t keep any records, your word is presumed to be right, as long as what you’re claiming is reasonable. This is another issue that will have to develop in the courts when the law goes into effect.
What Practical Difference Will this new “ Freelance Isn’t Free” law mean to me?
Now, a lot of companies just aren’t paying you because you have so few legal rights, and they’re just not worried about you suing them. Until this law was passed, most lawyers were not willing to do these cases for a percentage of what they got for you at the end (this is called a “contingency fee”, explained above); they wanted you to pay their legal bills by the hour up front, which you couldn’t afford to do. THIS CHANGES ALL THAT.
If I was hired to do the job by a single individual, as opposed to a company, will this law apply?
Yes, it will.
I consider myself a Freelancer, but how do I know if I can use this new law?
- It only applies to “organizations of no more than one person”, but if you have a corporation or a d/b/a name, that’s OK.
- If you have salaried employees on a regular basis, this law may not apply to you.
- If you use independent contractors or people to help you on an “as needed” basis, you probably will be able to use this law, but:
These issues, and others, will be fought between “us” and “them” when it goes into effect. It will only apply to jobs for $800 or more.
When is this law going into effect?
On May 16, 2017. It will only apply to contracts entered into on or after the effective date
Where can I find the new law?
New York City Passes Freelancer Wage Protection Law: “Freelance Isn’t Free” Here’s the link:
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