Freelance Isn't Free, California

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California is home to almost 2 million freelancers— but a reported 80% of us struggle to get paid. Not getting paid on time, or sometimes not getting paid at all, has negative effects on freelancers, reducing their abilities to cover business costs, health care, and contribute to their local economies. It is time to provide California's hard-working freelancers protections that will allow us to thrive.

The Freelance Isn’t Free Act California is based off of legislature from New York City’s successful Freelance Isn’t Free Act, which has recovered almost $1 million in unpaid invoices since its passing in 2017. This legislation would provide the following protections for California's freelancers:

  • 30-Day Payment Terms: unless otherwise specified in a contract, clients must pay freelancers within 30 days of work completion.
    Mandatory Contracts: clients must use a contract when hiring a freelancer for over $800 of work and they can face fines if they refuse to provide one.
  • Payment Agreement Protections: clients cannot require that freelancers accept less than they’re owed in exchange for timely payment.
  • Anti-Retaliation: clients cannot retaliate against a freelancer for pursuing payment.
  • Legal Assistance: a city agency will investigate, may try to collect on the freelancer’s behalf, and will provide court navigation services if needed.
  • Double Damages: freelancers can collect double damages and attorneys fees in court, and repeat offenders can face penalties of up to $25,000.


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