How NYC’s “Freelance Isn’t Free Act” Works for You

Freelance writers in New York City or anyone who works for a client in New York City, has a valuable new business resource: the Freelance Isn’t Free Act, NYC Local Law 140 of 2016, which went into effect on May 15, 2017.

The Grievance and Contract Division, under the direction of NYC member and National Contract Advisor Susan E. Davis, will work with members to take advantage of this law. Send inquiries to her attention at

The law has real teeth. Not only does it offer the following protections: 1) a written contract, 2) timely and full payment and 3) protection from retaliation (including protection for immigrant workers). But it enforces them in the following ways:

  • The law offers penalties for violations, including statutory damages, double damages, injunctive relief and attorney’s fees.
  • Cases will be brought in state court with help from the Office of Labor Policy & Standards (OLPS) in the Department of Consumer Affairs.   
  • Where there is evidence of a pattern or practice of violations, the NYC Corporation Counsel may bring civil action to recover a civil penalty of not more than $25,000.
  • The OLPS receives complaints.

To find out more about the law, which was initiated by the Freelancers Union and supported by the NWU, visit A comprehensive Q&A can be found by clicking on Know Your Rights.