One of the most difficult parts of being a freelance photographer is having to get on clients for continually trying to weasel their way out of a contract, even after the work has been completed.
Normally, you end up with the payment, but it’s not unheard of for photographers to get burnt.
To help prevent this, a new bill has been introduced to the New York City Council that would add a number of stipulations to help protect freelancers from getting the short end of the stick.
The ‘Freelance Isn’t Free’ bill, introduced by Councilman Brad Lander (D) and written in partnership with the Freelancer’s Union, would mandate clients to explicitly state the amount freelancers are to be paid, as well as a specific deadline to be compensated by. Failure to do so ‘would face penalties including double damages, attorney’s fees, and civil penalties.’
As pointed out in an article by the National Writers Union, a 2010 study by Rutgers economist William Rodgers concluded that freelancers living in New York lost roughly $4.7 billion in 2009 due to late or non-payments, including $323 million in lost taxes.
— Freelancers Union (@freelancersu) December 19, 2015
According to a statement from Lander, over 70% of freelancers have been ‘stiffed’ out of compensation by being paid late or no at all, costing an average of $6,390 every year.
This bill, if passed, would only affect New York freelancers, but if it gets through, it might be the kindling needed to start ‘Freelance Isn’t Free’ movements and legislation elsewhere.