California has seen a number of workers’ rights battles in recent months. From the ruling declaring Prop 22 unconstitutional to the lawsuits against Activision Blizzard, the state has been cracking down on businesses and laws that harm working people.
The city of Los Angeles is taking this even further. The LA City Council has recently voted to consider adopting new local legislation called the “Freelance Isn’t Free” Act. The Act is designed to protect freelancers and ensure that they get paid. Keep reading to learn how this bill might affect freelancers like you.
What Is the Freelance Isn’t Free Act?
The Freelance Isn’t Free Act (FIF Act) is proposed legislation that has just been unanimously supported by the LA City Council. The bill would establish protections for freelance workers in the city, specifically:
- The right to a written contract
- The right to timely and full payment
- Protection from retaliation by disgruntled customers
Customers or employers who violate these rights could be held accountable for their actions and forced to fulfill their responsibilities.
The full bill has not yet been developed, but the Economic and Workforce Development Department has been tasked with drafting recommendations. Once these recommendations have been created, the City Council will discuss them and potentially implement the best version.
These recommendations will be developed based on precedent. The Act is modeled off of a similar bill that went into place in New York City in 2017. In New York, the bill has helped freelancers achieve more regular employment and avoid the all-too-common situation of non-payment. This is invaluable for anyone working a non-traditional career in the city. There, the Act gives independent workers the negotiation leverage to avoid working for free.
How the Act Could Help Freelancers
By naming the rights a freelancer is guaranteed, the FIF Act would give independent workers an important negotiation tool. Should potential employers try to avoid written contracts or put off payment, the worker could simply point to the legislation to remind them that it’s legally required. The mere threat of legal action is often enough to prevent predatory behavior.
The Act would do more than just state that freelance workers have rights, of course. Should it go into effect, it would institute enforceable consequences for people who try to take advantage of freelance workers, from statutory damages to injunctive relief. This would give freelancers in LA a specific way to fight back against predatory employers without risking their careers.
Take Control of Your Career
While the Freelance Isn’t Free Act is not yet in place, it seems likely to be implemented in the next few years. The LA City Council has clearly signaled that they are interested in protecting workers’ rights, and freelancers are no exception.
In the meantime, you still deserve to be paid for your work. If you’re a freelance worker being exploited by your employers, you should get help. Reach out to an experienced workers’ rights attorney today. You can discuss your case and learn how you can fight predatory employers who are trying to hurt your career.