Welcome to the Gig Economy.
Artists, designers, actors, and coders, cab drivers, construction workers, independent contractors, etc., we all live from gig to gig. We are freelancers and we’re a growing force in NYC and across the country.
In December I joined New York City Council Members, labor leaders, and local freelancers to gather on the steps of City Hall to rally for the #FreelanceIsntFree bill.
We were making history — the #FreelanceIsntFree bill is the first proposed legislation protecting freelancers against client nonpayment in the nation.
Relying on her experience as a union organizer and labor lawyer, Sara founded the Freelancers Union in 1995 to create power in markets and power in politics for this rising workforce. Why? Because…
Numbers Don’t Lie
· In NYC alone we are 1.3 million people strong
· In the entire U.S. there are 54 million freelancers
· Statistically, 80% of freelancers have been stiffed
- 80%!! That’s 8.4 million people across the country!
· In NYC freelancers are stiffed an average of $6,400 each year
On a positive note, I discovered that services I was already using have relationships with the Freelancers Union, and I was able to retroactively get a discount applied…Happy dance — Get Your Discounts Here!
Real Pay In Real Time
See, freelancers face challenges that other paid employees don’t; challenges that are inherently unfair:
· Freelancers sometimes have to wait weeks, sometimes months to be paid.
- When your rent or mortgage payment is due, can you tell the landlord or bank that they’ll have it in 30, 60 or 90 days?
· Freelancers are sometimes paid part, but not all that is owed.
- Ever go out to dinner, eat a full meal, but only pay for the appetizer?
· Sometimes our work is not being paid for at all — outright wage theft.
Issuing timely payments isn’t just considerate, it builds respect. When companies earn the respect of the freelancers who work for them, they benefit in the following four ways...Consistent Quality. Extra Effort. Punctual Deliverables and Great PR. — Sam Whitaker
The point being, business relationships work both ways. When I have a good client who pays in a timely fashion, I’m eager to please them in every way I can. I’m super responsive, go the extra extra mile, make every effort to deliver the recordings before the due date, and speak highly of them to other freelancers about how great they are to work for. I call it sharing the love. :-)
Together, the Freelancers Union and NYC legislators are leading the way to enact laws that give independent contractors the same protection that small businesses have with the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996. Just ask Paul Strikwerda, "Freelancers are running all the risks that used to be carried by employers, but without a safety net. They have no benefits. There’s no paid sick leave, no company health care or retirement plan. Forget about job security.”
The Freelancer Isn't Free Act seeks to ensure double damages, attorney’s fees, and recourse via the Dept. of Consumer Affairs or small claims court.
It will be the first bill in the nation acknowledging the changing landscape of the value of self employed workers in a global economy. By 2020 40% of the U.S. workforce will be made up of contract workers. This new law will bring respect, dignity, and rights that will provide the same fairness and protection that full-time employees now have.
Getting paid is not a perk. It's a right. Because freelance isn’t free.
Freelancing is an exciting business model, attracting more and more people. I love it because it allows me to be at the helm of my career; I’m always learning new ways to improve my craft and my business, I’ve got the flexibility to take on whichever clients and projects appeal to me, and the ability to travel when the wanderlust dust kicks up and beckons. — Please join the fight.