Effective July 24, 2017, additional regulations were added to NYC’s “Freelance Isn’t Free Act”. These new regulations serve to clarify and strengthen the Act, which was created to establish and enhance protections for freelance workers. The Act ensures that freelance workers have the right to a written contract, timely and full payment, and protection from retaliation.
The new regulations broaden the definition of who may be deemed liable for retaliation against freelancers exercising their rights under the Act, to include the hiring agent’s actual or apparent agent, or anyone acting directly or indirectly on behalf of a hiring party. The new regulations clarify that the protections afforded under the Act are afforded to all freelancers, regardless of immigration status.
The new regulations also clarify when a written contract is needed with a freelancer, specifying that contracts of value between a freelancer and a hiring party valued at $800 or more (including the reasonable value of all actual or anticipated services, costs for supplies, and any other expenses under the contract) must be in writing, and clarify the amount of damages available to a freelancer who brings a successful cause of action.
Additionally, the new regulations also set forth how a freelancer can establish that an adverse action was taken against them by a hiring party, and who can be found liable for retaliation. Finally, the new regulations prohibit contractual language which limits a freelancer’s ability to exercise their rights under the act, engage in collective bargaining and/or class action, or limit their time frame within which to bring legal action for a violation of the Act.
Businesses with New York City which hire freelancers are advised to ensure that any agreements with freelancers are reduced to writing. They are also advised to review the language in said contracts to ensure that the language does not run afoul of the new regulations. Finally, New York City business are advised to train employees who supervise freelancers, in order to ensure that employees do not engage in any behavior which may been construed as retaliatory against any freelancers who avail themselves of the protection of the Act.