New York Legislature’s Freelance Isn’t Free Act Vetoed by Governor Hochul

Subcontracting Concepts, LLC (“SCI”) is pleased to update you that on December 23, 2022, Gov. Hochul vetoed Bill A9368/S8369B. The bill was modeled after the unpopular Freelance Isn’t Free Act, enacted in 2016 in New York City, and would have created a state-wide law with the same name, Freelance Isn’t Free Act. The bill would have created New York Labor Law 191-d, imposing unnecessary and burdensome requirements relating to payments and contracts with freelance individuals working as independent contractors. Contract formation is the most efficient when left to contracting parties in the marketplace and should not be overregulated by such legislation purporting to protect workers and their timely payments.

The Freelance Isn’t Free Act would have established burdensome requirements for a specifically mandated written contract, purportedly ensuring timely payment and protections for damages and legal assistance for freelance workers across the state. A local version of the law went into effect in New York City in 2017, and powerful labor organizations saw the Albany bill as a natural extension of that campaign. However, fortunately for the flexible workforce in New York State, Governor Hochul’s wisdom prevailed to support free markets and not overburden the embattled resources of the Department of Labor.

In her veto, the governor claimed that she supports “efforts to ensure that New Yorkers are paid for their hard work.” But “without appropriate funding,” she wrote, the bill “would create significant staffing and programmatic burdens” on the state Department of Labor — underlining her reluctance to expand the duties of government agencies outside of the annual budget process. (See “Here’s Every Bill Hochul Vetoed” New York Focus / January 3rd, 2023).

We applaud Governor Hochul for her courage to veto the bill to not expand government overreach at the burdensome expense of the taxpayers, thwarting independent workers with unnecessary requirements in the free marketplace. SCI is the premier third-party administrator in the last-mile courier industry providing necessary benefits and services to independent contractors. SCI continually monitors and lobbies against damaging legislation in New York State and nationally in support of the industry.

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