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Authors Guild Celebrates the Passage of New York’s Freelance Isn’t Free Act

Wide angle photo of the New York State Capitol in Albany

We are grateful to Governor Kathy Hochul for heeding the voices of New York State’s thousands of freelance workers and signing the Freelance Isn’t Free Act (FIFA) into law, a significant step in ensuring fair treatment and timely compensation for the freelance community.

This legislation, championed by the Authors Guild, offers crucial protections for freelance workers, a substantial segment—approximately 30 percent—of the state’s workforce. Authors, freelance writers, and journalists now have a robust framework ensuring written contracts, timely payments, and additional compensation for delayed payments.

How FIFA Impacts Freelance Writers

The new law targets current prevalent practices of delaying payment to freelancers, or in some cases not paying them at all. It mandates written contracts for freelance work, ensuring clarity and enforceability of work terms and payment schedules. It empowers freelancers to claim double compensation if employers fail to pay in a timely manner. This statewide law mirrors the success of a similar law in New York City, which has been instrumental in helping freelancers recover overdue payments​​​​.

Advocacy and Collective Efforts

The Authors Guild, along with other organizations like the National Writers Union and Freelancers Union, played a pivotal role in advocating for FIFA. Our collective efforts included rallying in Albany, engaging with state lawmakers, and highlighting the challenges freelancers face, such as having to chase down payments and a lack of legal protections afforded to traditional employees.

Impact and Future Prospects

FIFA is a significant step towards leveling the playing field between freelancers and traditional employees. Authors Guild CEO Mary Rasenberger emphasized the importance of the new law, stating that it would allow freelancers to focus more on their work rather than recovering unpaid wages. This legislation exemplifies New York’s commitment to fair and equitable working conditions, setting a precedent for other states to follow​​​​​​.

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