If you are part of the 38% of New York City writers and workers who freelance, here’s some very good news. The Freelance Isn’t Free Act is now law. This Act, (the first of its kind in the nation) offers protections to freelancers who’ve had to engage in the frustrating game of chasing down money.

The effort, spearheaded last fall by the Freelancers Union,  rallied more than 8,000 freelancers to sign a petition that pushed the bill to a vote.

In essence, the law calls for mandatory contracts for workers earning 1099-income of at least $800 over a four month period.  Payments are required no later than 30 days after the completion of work, or by a date laid out in the contract.

If payment is late or not received at all, the freelancer can file a court action that could result in as much as $25,000 in civil penalties and may also hold the client responsible for attorney’s fees. The client can also be reported to the Bureau of Labor Standards and face a $250 fine if they don’t draw up a contract.

The new law is designed to benefit freelancers who work independently within New York City, for companies based in New York City.

It’s estimated that 7 out of 10 freelancers in New York City have found themselves dealing with non-paying clients.

Gig workers can click here to learn how the new law works.

Fifty-million people freelance across the country and it is expected the NYC legislation will serve as a national model for protecting freelance workers.