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“Freelance Isn’t Free Act” Signed Into New York Law


Many people enjoy doing freelance work. They work on the projects they want, use their own equipment, and set their own hours. Sure, you often have to hustle to get jobs, but if you get regular jobs, it can be a nice alternative to working 9-5 in an office.

However, one of the biggest downsides of being a freelancer is the lack of benefits. You don’t get health insurance, vacation days, or PTO. You get no retirement plan. Even getting paid on time is a challenge.

The good news is that New York is helping out by passing laws that allow for some protections for freelancers. In November, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law the “Freelance Isn’t Free Act.” This act provides protections for freelance workers, the same ones that are already in place in New York City.

Senate Bill (B) 5026/Assembly Bill (A) 6040 was passed on November 22, 2023, five months after it was passed by the state legislature. The law will go into effect on May 20, 2024. It will be codified as a new Section 191-d of the New York Labor Law. Here’s a look at what the law will do.

Defines Freelancers

Under the law, a freelance worker is defined as an individual or organization who is hired or retained as an independent contractor by a hiring party (except for state, federal, and municipal government offices) to provide services in exchange for compensation of at least $800 (or a total amount of $800 over a period of 120 days).

Contracts with the following are excluded:

  • Attorneys
  • Licensed medical professionals
  • Sales representatives
  • Construction contractors

Timely Payment of Compensation

The law will require hiring parties to pay freelancers the contracted compensation “on or before the date such compensation is due,” based on the date outlined in the contract. If no such date is included, then freelancers must be paid “no later than 30 days after the completion” of the work.

Written Contracts Required 

Under the law, the terms of an agreement between a hiring party and a freelancer must be in writing. Hiring parties must furnish a copy of a written contract, either physically or electronically, to the freelance worker.

Such written contracts between hiring parties and freelancers must include:

  • The name and mailing address of both parties.
  • An itemization of all services to be provided by the freelance worker.
  • The value of the services to be provided pursuant to the contract.
  • The rate and method of compensation.
  • The date on which compensation is due.
  • The date by which a freelance worker must submit a list of services rendered under such contract.

Contact Us for More Information About Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Freelance workers are not usually considered employees that can receive benefits, so it’s nice to know that these workers are entitled to some protections under New York law.

Contact a White Plains workers’ compensation lawyer from The Law Office of Michael Lawrence Varon to understand your legal rights. Don’t leave any money on the table. Schedule a free consultation today by calling (914) 228-1770 or filling out the online form.



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