Friday afternoon, in a meeting at Freelancers Union headquarters, New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Patricia Smith discussed issues facing freelancers, including the feast-or-famine nature of independent work. A small group of Freelancers Union members shared their experiences with income instability. The meeting was a great opportunity to highlight the fact that independent workers are generally excluded from existing programs, and to talk about innovative new ways that the State could support them.
Currently, Commissioner Smith is working on reforms to the unemployment insurance system. Since freelancers generally don't have access to this aspect of the social safety net, it’s an encouraging sign that Commissioner Smith is paying attention to our group! She told us that she and the Governor are both aware that independent workers are important to New York's economic growth.