The New York State Assembly has again passed the NYS “Freelance Isn’t Free Act” and, as of November 13, 2023, the Bill has made its way back to Governor Hochul’s desk to be passed or vetoed. Modeled after the New York City Freelance Isn’t Free Act of 2017, the State-wide law would force an unfair burden over the flexible workforce.
The “Freelance Isn’t Free Act” will place restrictions over the freelance workers that are traditionally reserved for employer-employee relationships. In mandating written contracts with strict requirements, the Proposed Bill attempts to enforce timely payment to independent contractors and establish an administrative process through the DOL for controversies related to payment issues, complaint procedures, and penalties.
Initially considered by NYS in 2022, Governor Hochul wisely vetoed the bill last December. 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).
A re-creation of last year’s attempt to restrict the flexible workforce, the 2023 NYS “Freelance Isn’t Free Act” will wrongly expand government overreach at the expense of the independent workforce. While on its face a seemingly beneficial attempt to protect freelance workers, the Proposed Bill, if passed, will restrict workers’ right to contract independently, enforcing a strict process over independent workers that is intended to specifically protect employees.
The path to protecting freelance workers is not found by forcing independent contractors to conform to traditional employer-employee expectations. SCI is dedicated to protecting independent contractors’ rights to operate independently and contract according to their needs. SCI will continue to outwardly lobby against restrictive legislation that impedes this right in New York State and Nationally. Updates concerning the status of the Proposed “Freelance Isn’t Free Act” and other damaging legislation are available at https://sciadmin.com/.
“Assembly Bill A6040 – 2023-2024 Legislative Session.” The New York State Senate. March 31, 2023.
“Here’s Every Bill Hochul Vetoed.” New York Focus. January 3rd, 2023.
“NY S05026 | 2023-2024 | General Assembly. New York Senate Bill 5026.” LegiScan.
“Senate Bill S5026 – 2023-2024 Legislative Session.” The New York State Senate. February 22, 2023.