Councilman Introduces Motion To Strengthen Workers' Rights For Freelancers

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Councilman Bob Blumenfield introduced a motion today aimed at strengthening workers' rights for freelancers in Los Angeles.

Blumenfield cited New York's  ”Freelance Isn't Free Act,'' which was enacted in 2016, in his motion, in calling on the city to provide basic protections for the workers by requiring employers:

-- to enter into written contracts with freelance workers when the work exceeds a specific amount, outlining the scope of work, rate, method of payment and payment due date; and

-- to pay freelancers within 30 days in the absence of a written contract.

Blumenfield also said he wants the measure to include statutory penalties for non-compliance and spell out enforcement details.

“There are a lot of Angelenos who work without contracts and aren't considered 'employees' under federal, state and local labor laws, and thus need some basic workplace protections,'' Blumenfield said. “This isn't just about editors or graphic artists, this is about all freelancers and independent contractors like domestic workers who 'work their tails off' and remain vulnerable to unfair pay disputes and other issues.''

The motion, if adopted, would instruct the Economic Workforce Development Department, in consultation with Bureau of Contract Administration and the City Attorney, to report to City Council with recommendations for a “Freelance Isn't Free Act,'' including scope of coverage, recommended or required exclusions based on state law and private and public enforcement mechanisms.

Lloyd Lesperance, chief of staff of the Freelancers Union, which represent over a half-million independent workers, welcomed the motion.

“Los Angeles has one of the largest freelance populations in the country and client non-payment has been an issue many have faced with little to no recourse,'' he said.

“Eight out of 10 freelancers experience nonpayment, cheating them out of thousands in owed wages. The pandemic has only exasperated these issues, and now more than ever, freelancers would benefit from the support of the City of Los Angeles. On behalf of all independent workers, we thank Councilmember Blumenfield for introducing this motion.''

Photo: Getty Images

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