C Tann-Starr's Outside Blog


Freelancer's Union Is Free... So Is This Information For Independent Contractors...

Carolyn Tann-Starr 2009

Freelancer's Union Is Free... So Is This Information For Independent Contractors...


I have been having fun here all moring. Very interesting website. I discovered a "deadbeat client bill" was introduced and I'm on my way over to the Senate's website (http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us) to read all about the pending NY legislation (enter Bill # S8084 in the query field).

S8084 SUMMARY: SQUADRON, DUANE, KRUEGER, PARKER (Add SS196-b & 196-c), "Relates to payment of independent contractors and authorizes the Department of Labor to investigate complaints, make claims for compensation, assess liquid damages, civil penalties and criminal penalties, and authorizes the award of attorney fees and liquidated damages."

Lines [3] to [28] are new and interest me the most. Ready? Gonna quote the government line by line for the first section of the bill:

" [3] § 196-b. Definitions. For purposes of this section the term: [4] 1. "Compensation" means the earnings of an independent contractor. [5] The term "compensation" also includes reimbursement for expenses. [6] 2. "Independent contractor" means a sole proprietor who is not an [7] employee and who is hired or retained by a client for an amount equal to [8] or greater than six hundred dollars. [9] 3. "Client" includes a person, corporation, limited liability company, [10] association or non-profitmaking organization contracting with an inde- [11] pendent contractor in any occupation, industry, trade, business or [12] service for an amount equal to or greater than six hundred dollars. The [13] term "client" shall not include a governmental agency. [14] § 196-c. Payment of independent contractors. 1. An independent [15] contractor shall be paid the compensation earned in accordance with the [16] agreed work terms but not later than the last day of the month following [17] the month in which the compensation is earned. The agreed work terms [18] shall be reduced in writing, signed by both the client and the independ- [19] ent contractor, kept on file by the client for a period of not less than [20] six years and made available to the commissioner upon request. Such [21] writing shall include a description of how compensation earned and paya- [22] ble shall be calculated. The failure of a client to produce such written [23] work terms, upon request of the commissioner, shall give rise to a [24] presumption that the terms that the independent contractor has presented 25 are the agreed terms. [26] 2. The commissioner shall investigate and attempt to adjust equitably [27] controversies between clients and independent contractors relating to [28] this section."

So... the seed has been planted and my gal pals and I are tweaking our minimum thresholds in anticipation of this passing. We are totally in support of this bill because people should be paid for their work in a reasonable amount of time. You guys should read the entire electronic jacket for yourselves. The "sponsor memo" was an interesting read as well. Here's what they stated regarding justification:

"JUSTIFICATION: Since the original enactment of the labor law regulations the workforce composition of New York State has changed significantly. The modern economy has led to the rise of individual workers considered "independent contractors" or "freelancers." An independent contractor, as defined by this legislation, is a sole proprietor who is not an employee and who is hired or retained by a client for an amount equal to or greater than six hundred dollars (the threshold for which a company or person must provide a form 1099 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service). These people often participate in work alongside traditional employees, yet they are not afforded the same protections under the law as their traditionally employed counterparts. They are especially vulnerable because their compensation is not guaranteed under the labor law, and their main forum for relief is to go to small claims court. This bill seeks to correct that by amending the labor law to extend protection to this population of workers. A recent survey of 3000 independent contrac- tors revealed that they spent 17,000 hours pursuing $3 million dollars in owed compensation. This indicates not only the disproportionate burden placed on these individuals to collect payments that are right- fully theirs, but also illustrates how much productivity is lost because independent contractors are forced to spend time pursuing compensation when they could be performing valuable and constructive work activity."

If you are a student of this unfortunate recession and/or know loved ones who have been negatively impacted by a financial crisis please let your elected officials know that you support their efforts to protect workers and pass along this legislation info. We need votes to get this passed. Contact your public officials if you care about this issue. Here's where you need to go to find and contact your NYS Senator: http://www.nysenate.gov/senators

If you are from another state feel free to let your government officials know what New York is trying to do because something similar may be useful in your neck of the woods. I'm kinda wondering what is going to happen regarding the banks that like to change broker compensation after the fact because a home converts to a short sale during the contract period and some use it as an excuse to decide not to pay the contractual fees earned under the listing agreement. I keep thinking the Department of Labor's website is going to be a fun place to watch if this bill passes... I like the hypothetical idea of it not being cost prohibitive to possibly take a bank on if they mess with the payday agreed upon after the fact.





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Comment balloon 7 commentsC Tann-Starr • June 19 2010 08:44AM


Good Morning Carolyn,

This is very interesting news. I'm going to find out info for the state of FL.

Have an AWESOME weekend!


Posted by Adell Forbes (REALTOR®), "Knowledge & Experience Working for You" (PalmerHouse Properties ) over 10 years ago

Adell, enjoy your weekend as well! I was very excited to see them move forward with this. We need to let them know this type of legislation is important to us all. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 10 years ago

Thanks for posting this!!!

Posted by Nogui Aramburo, Real Estate Professional in the Raleigh Area (Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS®) over 10 years ago

Hi Carolyn, This is great information and thank you for taking the time to write and post it. Do you sleep? :)

Posted by Jackie Connelly-Fornuff, "Moving at The Speed of YOU!" (Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Babylon NY) over 10 years ago

Nogui, you are very welcome.

Jackie, rumor has it that I nap (LOL).

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 10 years ago

No you don't sleep - you're our energizer bunny!  Interesting stuff - hope it gets passed. I don't believe with have anything like this here in AZ.

How are the wee ones this fine day?  Haven't seen any posts about the little guys lately. Always brightens my day!

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, CRS, Broker, Instructor, 602-380-4886 (HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000) over 10 years ago

Oooo... I bet we can do a wee people post today. Will give you an update later, Anna. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 10 years ago

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