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Learn about the Freelance Isn't Free Law and take action in your community.


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The Freelance Isn’t Free Law

This groundbreaking law protecting freelancers from nonpayment was a victory for Freelancers Union members in New York CIty and serves as a blueprint for other cities and states. Enacted in 2017, its provisions include:

  • 30-Day Payment Terms: unless otherwise specified in a contract, clients must pay freelancers within 30 days of work completion.
  • Mandatory Contractsclients must use a contract when hiring a freelancer for over $800 of work and they can face fines if they refuse to provide one.

  • Payment Agreement Protections: clients cannot require that freelancers accept less than they’re owed in exchange for timely payment.

  • Anti-Retaliation: clients cannot retaliate against a freelancer for pursuing payment.

  • Legal Assistance: a city agency will investigate, may try to collect on the freelancer’s behalf, and will provide court navigation services if needed.

  • Double Damages: freelancers can collect double damages and attorneys fees in court, and repeat offenders can face penalties of up to $25,000.

Who is protected? The law covers freelancers who are earning 1099 income and are owed over $800 for work in a 4-month period. It applies to sole proprietors who are not incorporated, or who are incorporated as either an independent LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp and do not have employees.


Learn more about the law in plain language or read the full text.  

File a Nonpayment Claim in NYC

File a complaint form

In New York City, you can file a nonpayment complaint using this form with the Office of Labor and Policy Standards, who can help you resolve your issue.

You can file the complaint or reach out with questions:

  • Via email at freelancer@dca.nyc.gov
  • In person at the Office of Labor Policy & Standards in Manhattan at 42 Broadway, 9th floor
  • By phone at 212-436-0380

Learn more here about filing a claim.

Bring #FreelanceIsntFree to Your City

Download the organizer's toolkit

Ready to bring #FreelanceIsntFree to your community? Here’s how you can help:

  • Sign the petition in support of pay protection for freelancers
  • Spread the word about Freelancers Union to your network with the hashtag #FreelanceIsntFree
  • Download the Organizer’s Toolkit to learn how you can take action and become a local campaign leader

Together, we can grow the movement to help make sure freelancers everywhere get paid on time every time!

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