Freelancers aren’t covered by the same laws that protect many other workers, leaving them little recourse when they get stiffed. Now the state’s home-office set is working overtime to expand their options.
More than 400 freelancers have electronically “outed” clients they say have not paid them—ranging from political candidates to banks to media companies—via a website set up by the Freelancers Union. An advertising blitz by the nonprofit advocacy group has blanketed subway cars with the message: “Is not paying a freelancer any less wrong than not paying a traditional employee?” And a legislative push in Albany seeks to provide independent contractors—the fastest growing segment of the economy—with the same rights as traditional employees. Nationwide, half of all the new jobs added in the recovery are expected to be independent workers, according to the employment law firm Littler Mendelson.