BY YVETTE BROWN
On Thursday, City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), alongside the freelancers union, hosted a town hall to call attention to how freelancers are paid and how the city can better support them.
Sara Horowitz, founder and executive director of the Freelancers Union, was in attendance at the town hall where she spoke about the experiences she has had when it came to employers not paying her and she also spoke about how the city can help the independent workforce gain necessary worker protection.
“Whether it’s an Uber driver, a healthcare worker, or a freelance web developer, more and more New Yorkers are choosing the freedom and flexibility of the gig economy over the traditional 9-to-5 rat race. These workers make up the backbone of New York City’s economy, but unfortunately, there is no system in place to protect them when they don’t get paid,” said Horowitz. “It’s time to hold these deadbeat companies accountable. That’s why we’re urging the NYC Council to pass this groundbreaking legislation and give these independent workers the protections they deserve.”
According to City Council, the average freelancer loses about $6,000 every year because of late payments or no payments at all and 71 percent of freelancers have reported having trouble getting paid during some point of their employment.
Van Bramer is a co-sponsor of the “Freelance Isn’t Free” bill, which protects freelance workers from late and non-payments by requiring companies that hire freelancers to have a contract laying out the scope of the work as well as the rate, payment method, due date and provide greater avenues of recourse, which includes a new ability to file a complaint with the Department of Consumer Affairs for those freelancers who don’t get paid on time.
“Late and nonpayment is wage theft, and it must stop,” said Van Bramer. “That’s why I’m proud to co-sponsor the Freelance Isn’t Free Act, which will help protect freelancers from nonpayment, and to host tonight’s event to learn more about how the city can support its independent workforce. For New York to continue to be the cultural capital of the world, our freelance artists must get paid in full and on time – as must the rest of our city’s 1.3 million independent workers.”
Reach Yvette Brown at (718)357-7400 ext. 128, firstname.lastname@example.org or @eveywrites.