After being introduced as a bill back in February by Democratic New York state senator Andrew Gounardes and assembly member Harry Bronson, the Freelance Isn't Free Act has been passed in New York State. The law is intended to establish and enhance the rights of freelance workers including authors, journalists, and other writers on contract.

S8369 will build upon the law previously instated in New York City, expanding the protections for freelancers state-wide. The law is intended to “protect contract and freelance workers from wage theft by ensuring all freelancers receive appropriate contracts for their work, are paid in a timely manner, and have state support to recoup unpaid wages.”

The law requires employers to provide written contracts for all freelance workers and that those freelancers be paid by the agreed-upon date or within 30 days of the completion of the work. It also permits freelancers to collect double the agreed-upon fee if employers do not satisfy those requirements. The law also lowers the threshold for mandating additional financial remediation from contractors to contract workers, and makes the New York State Labor Department the regulatory agency for freelancers in the state.

“We are grateful to State Senator Andrew Gounardes and State Assembly member Harry Bronson for spearheading this important bill in the New York State Legislature, to the bill’s other co-sponsors for their support and to the National Writers Union and Freelancers Union for leading a broad coalition of organizations, including the Authors Guild, in lobbying for the bill’s passage,” Mary Rasenberger, CEO of the Authors Guild, said in a statement. “We will continue to work with the National Writers Union, Freelancers Union, the Graphic Artists Guild, American Photographic Artists and other like-minded organizations to pass similar legislation across the country, starting with California, which, like New York, is home to many freelance creative workers.”