A while back, I blogged about the New York Freelance Isn’t Free Act (the “Act”). Here’s what you should know if you are consider hiring a New York independent contractor, or you are a New York independent contractor.
The Act went into effect on May 15, 2017. It imposes the strictest penalties against people who hire independent contractors without written agreements. Plus, the Act provides contractors with strong legal remedies, when they are improperly paid. Such penalties include attorneys’ fees and the possibility of recovering double damages.
The Act provides that if an independent contractor is paid $800 or more, over the course of the immediately preceding four months, the agreement MUST be in writing. If you are the type of person who tries to avoid doing what is right, think twice. NEW YORK is watching you! And don’t think by creating several small engagements that cost under $800 will help you avoid compliance. The law takes into consideration the aggregate value of the work performed by the contractor. So, if you hired an independent contractor in January 2018 for $200, February for $400, April for $600, you must have a written agreement. While each month’s payment was less than $800, the aggregate amount of the payment over the 3-months was $1200.
Independent Contractor Has Rights.
Another point addressed by the Act is payment. The independent contractor MUST be paid in full on the date agreed upon. If no such date is in the contract, then the contractor MUST be paid no later than 30-days after the work is completed.
New York takes the protection of its contractors seriously. It has gone so far as to not allow retaliation by the hiring party. Retaliation as defined by the Act is any attempt by the person hiring the independent contractor to pressure or intimidate the contractor into forgoing their rights.
If a hiring party does not provide a written agreement once a contractor requests it, they will be fined $250. Further, if the hiring party has repeatedly violated the Act, they can happily look forward to a $25,000 fine.
Until next time, I’m attorney Francine Ward keeping you informed. Do you have something to say? Join me on my Facebook Fan Page, my Twitter Law Page, Google+, in one of my LinkedIn Groups.