More Freelancers Struggle To Get Paid, Alter System

In mid-April, the New York-based Freelancers Union revealed that, according to their survey, about 40 percent of freelancers had trouble receiving payment for their work in 2009. Because the recent recession and ongoing changes in the media industry have resulted in more and more individuals working as independent freelancers, it seems inevitable that industry standards concerning prompt and full payment of freelancers will have to improve.

According to the Wall Street Journal, San Francisco-based employment law firm Littler Mendelson anticipates that, in 2010, half of recently scrapped positions will be filled by “contingent workers” — independent contractors, freelancers, and temps — to the point that such workers will account for up to 25 percent of the country’s work force.

Based on stats and previous experience, we’d feel safe in assuming that most of you reading this right now have your own experiences trying to receive payment for work, only to find that your only option is becoming wrangled up in the court system rather than obtaining help or representation from federal or state labor departments like the Department of Labor or the Better Business Bureau, as full-time employees can.

So what other options does one have until freelancers / independent contractors are not viewed as little Converse-clad turd people? The Freelancers Union has launched an advertising and lobbying campaign aimed at encouraging employers to make good on unpaid freelance wages this month. And there is some encouraging legislation hoping to be passed on to New York lawmakers what would give more power and protection to freelancers and make it less easy for companies to bend them over for a thorough rogering. So to speak.

Or. You could send your story of payment woe to certain blogs and have someone fighting in your corner.