Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Proposed New York City law may protect freelance writers from being stiffed

Freelance writers may soon have recourse to a new law that is being considered by New York City and which would require all employers to put contracts in writing, impose civil and criminal penalties for taking longer than 30 days to deliver payments, and award double damages plus attorneys fees to contractors who’ve been stiffed. Just like people with real jobs.

According to a story in the Washington Post's Wonkblog, the need for the legislation is being driven in part by the growing trend of slow, short or non-payment of freelance fees.
"It's clear that there are some companies that have made it a business practice to not pay freelancers,” says the legislation’s sponsor Councilman Brad Lander, whose Brooklyn district is full of them. "I see this as one critical step in one broader project of building protections for workers in the independent economy.”
The idea for the bill came from the Freelancer's Union, a 20-year-old organization that says 70% of its members have lost some money to delinquent accounts.
"It's almost become something that people view as the price of doing business, just accepting that they won’t get paid,” says Sara Horowitz, the Freelancers Union’s founder and director. “It’s really crazy, because it’s a lot of money, and it’s really bad practice for companies to think they can do this.”
Text of bill 

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