Freelancers Who Get Paid...

Sounds Pretty Basic To Us

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

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 Contracts: clients 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
  • 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

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

  • 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!

Need help getting paid now?

Visit our guide to getting paid!

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