Brooklyn Journal of Corporate, Financial & Commercial Law


Recently, the New York City Council enacted the Freelance Isn’t Free Act (FIFA) to protect freelancers from non-payment. Among FIFA’s protections is the requirement that hiring parties provide a written contract to freelancers for any work exceeding $800 over a 120-day period. As the nation’s first legislation ensuring freelancers’ rights, FIFA marks a major turning point in the development of protections for the gig economy’s growing independent workforce. While its purpose is laudable and necessary, this Note argues that FIFA is currently too ambiguous. To resolve FIFA’s ambiguity, this Note recommends, at the very least, amending FIFA to include: 1) a specific jurisdictional provision; 2) a clarification of the definition of a freelance worker; and 3) a good faith defense provision for hiring parties. Additionally, this Note suggests that all hiring parties—whether located in New York City or conducting business with freelancers located in New York City—take the following actions: 1) confirm whether their workers are acting as freelancers under FIFA’s protections or employees; 2) enter into written contracts with any existing and future freelancers; 3) pay freelancers as agreed; and 4) be proactive if a complaint is received from a freelancer under FIFA.