Mayor Fulop Protects Freelance Workers' Rights

Mayor Fulop Aims to Protect Freelance Workers' Rights

Jersey City Will be First in New Jersey to Guarantee Rights for Independent Workers 

 

JERSEY CITY – Mayor Steven M. Fulop has proposed an ordinance that would protect Jersey City’s freelance workers from late payments or uncertain terms of agreement, in an effort to encourage the continued growth of the City’s population of non-traditional workers. The recent expansion of the City’s business community has brought about more opportunities for freelance workers across all industries, some of whom have been negatively impacted by informal agreements or long wait periods for payment. The proposed ordinance aims to give these workers the right to a written contract and the right to be paid in a timely manner. 

 

“There is no denying that our economy is changing how, when, and where people work. As a City, we are thinking about these changes and what can be done to ensure that freelance and independent workers can continue to thrive here,” said Mayor Fulop. “As the first City in New Jersey to enact a law protecting freelance workers, I hope we can serve as a reminder that freelance work is not free, and that these workers enhance our economy and deserve fair treatment and protection.”

 

The ordinance will impact any freelance worker who provides more than $500 worth of services to a person or company engaged in commercial or business activities within Jersey City. A contract will now be required between the two parties, which must also specify a date of payment. Payment will now be required within thirty days of completion of service, according to the proposed ordinance. 

 

“There's nothing more demoralizing than having to chase payments after working hard to meet the client's requirements and deadlines. Even with a contract it happens regularly. As a freelancer, you can't take on as much work as an agency can, so it limits your options to weather cash flow issues. Jersey City protecting workers with with these additional safeguards helps make freelance work a real and viable alternative to conventional employment,” said Carlos Abreu, a local freelance worker and CTO-to-Go, who has advocated for the ordinance. 

 

Last year, New York City enacted a similar law to protect the large number of freelance workers operating in the City. Since then, independent and freelance workers in New York have recovered more than $250,000 in lost wages thanks to these protections. 

 

“New York’s ‘Freelance Isn’t Free Act’ is a great achievement for workers. It was a product of years of negotiation and union organization. The National Writers Union (NWU) worked closely with other unions to pass this bill in New York City, the first law to protect freelancers in the country. Today, freelancers represent one third of the work force in the US. It is terrific news that Jersey City, the city that I now call home, is in the process of passing this legislation as well. This is a big step for New Jersey workers and sets an example for the rest of the country,” said Mauricio Niebla, 3rd Vice President, National Writers Union, UAW local 1981.

 

The Fulop Administration has a history of advocating for workers rights throughout Jersey City and New Jersey. In 2013, Jersey City became the first in the state, and the sixth nationwide, to require local businesses to provide paid sick leave to employees. The Administration has also aimed to set an example by implementing progressive employee-focused policies that impact the City’s workforce, including providing transgender healthcare coverage and raising the minimum wage to $15/hour for municipal workers. 

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