Freelancers Union – What You Should Know

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What is Freelancers Union

Freelancers Union is a non-profit based in New York with a reported 350,000 members nationwide, most of which are in New York. The organization provides advocacy and health insurance to its members and as a result, provides (for-profit) insurance for freelancers.


Founded in 1955, Freelancers Union formed because freelancers (those employed in nontraditional arrangements) do not have access to employer-based health care insurance. As a result, Freelancers Union has been fighting for freelancer rights since its inception.

Services and Benefits

Freelancers Union offers various types of insurance for freelancers. Their insurance offerings include health, dental, term life, disability, and liability. In addition to insurance, they also offer retirement savings plans, which is an aspect of money management that many freelancers neglect.


Their social media accounts include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vimeo and Youtube. in addition to their social networks, they host SPARK events throughout the country, which are local events for freelancers to network. They are the driving force behind the Freelance Isn’t Free movement, which you can learn more about here. According to their website:

This groundbreaking law protecting freelancers from nonpayment was a victory for Freelancers Union members in New York CIty and serves as a blueprint for other cities and states. Enacted in 2017, its provisions include:

30-Day Payment Terms: unless otherwise specified in a contract, clients must pay freelancers within 30 days of work completion.
Mandatory Contracts: clients must use a contract when hiring a freelancer for over $800 of work and they can face fines if they refuse to provide one.

Payment Agreement Protections: clients cannot require that freelancers accept less than they’re owed in exchange for timely payment.

Anti-Retaliation: clients cannot retaliate against a freelancer for pursuing payment.

Legal Assistance: a city agency will investigate, may try to collect on the freelancer’s behalf, and will provide court navigation services if needed.

Double Damages: freelancers can collect double damages and attorneys fees in court, and repeat offenders can face penalties of up to $25,000.

Who is protected? The law covers freelancers who are earning 1099 income and are owed over $800 for work in a 4-month period. It applies to sole proprietors who are not incorporated, or who are incorporated as either an independent LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp and do not have employees.”

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