New York City Says Freelance Doesn’t Mean Free

Starting today, New York City requires freelancers and the businesses that hire to enter into a written agreement specifying how much the freelancer will be paid and the schedule for payment.  The law also prohibits retaliation against freelancers who try to enforce their rights under this law.

The written agreement can be as simple as an email, but it must include: the name and mailing address of the parties to the agreement; an itemized list of the services to be provided by the freelancer, the value of the services to be provided under the agreement, and the rate and method of determining the freelancer’s compensation.  It also must include a schedule for paying the freelancer or a method of determining when a freelancer will be paid.  If a schedule for payment isn’t included, the law says the freelancer must be paid by not later than 30 days after the freelancer completes the services under the agreement.  A template is available here. Both parties to the agreement are required to keep a copy of the agreement.

This law applies where the freelancer is providing services worth $800 or more either alone or when combined with other work done by the same freelancer for the hiring party within the prior 120 days.  The law applies to both individuals and corporate entities (for example, corporations, limited liability companies) where the entity is made up of a single person.