SR Holguin, PC is a union-side labor and employment law firm with nearly four decades of experience representing private sector unions, public sector unions, and multi-employer trust funds. SR Holguin, PC is committed to providing full-service legal representation to each of our clients.

One way in which SR Holguin, PC ensures our clients and their members stay informed is by keeping you updated on recent developments relating to workers’ rights. Today’s updates come following the release of the August 18, 2021 Los Angeles City Council meeting agenda. There is one item in particular that could impact you.

Workers Who Could be Impacted: Independent Contractors and Freelancers in the City of LA

On January 26, 2021, a Motion was introduced by Councilmember Bob Blumenfield (3rd District) and seconded by Councilmember Kevin de León (14th District). 

The Motion provided in part, “[t]he City of Los Angeles has consistently championed its workers by adopting laws designed to protect workers’ rights and improve their socioeconomic status. For example, the City has adopted the Minimum Wage and the Living Wage Ordinances, the Citywide Motel Worker Minimum Wage Ordinance, the First Source Hiring Ordinance, and various Worker Retention Ordinances. The State of California has also championed its workers, including by adopting AB 5, which seeks to ensure that more workers are properly classified as employees, with all of the protections that status provides. 

However, workers who are not employees but who work as independent contractors or freelancers have received less attention and legal protection. The City should also take reasonable measures to ensure that these workers are treated fairly receive the compensation they are due… Freelance workers include independent contractors, part-time moonlighters, full-time seif-employed workers and others. Their work ranges from highly specialized professions in the tech, fashion and media industries to event planning, caregiving, housekeeping and more in the rapidly-expanding gig economy. Unfortunately, many of these independent workers struggle with nonpayment and delayed payment for work rendered.

In 2016, the City of New York enacted the ‘Freelance Isn’t Free Act,’ which requires written contracts for freelance work exceeding a specified amount that outline the scope of work, rate, method of payment, and the payment due date. In the absence of a written contract, the Act requires payment within 30 days. The Act provides a private right of action, including statutory penalties. The City of New York’s Office of Labor Policy and Standards is responsible for outreach and engagement; and has enforcement authority. The Act contains exclusions and limitations based on New York state law.

The City of Los Angeles should consider adopting similar legislation to protect its freelance workers. The purpose is not to determine whether workers should be classified as employees or freelancers, but rather to ensure that those who hire freelancers treat them fairly. Any local legislation should include exemptions and exclusions that may be required by State law, including Proposition 22, and take into account atypical industries whose freelance workers are protected by collective bargaining or similar agreements.”

Therefore, the Motion called for “the Council [to instruct] the Economic and Workforce Development Department, in consultation with Bureau of Contract Administration and the City Attorney, to report back with recommendations for a local Freelance Isn’t Free Act, including the appropriate scope of coverage, required or recommended exclusions based on State law or industry-specific considerations; and private and public enforcement mechanisms.”

On August 10, 2021, the City Council’s Economic Development and Jobs Committee met to discuss the Motion. The Committee’s Report stated in part, “[a]fter consideration and having provided an opportunity for public comment, the Committee moved to recommend approval of the Motion. This matter is now submitted to Council for its consideration.”

Now, agenda item 14 of the August 18, 2021 LA City Council meeting agenda calls for the Council to consider the Motion.

The Motion is supported by the National Writers Union and the Freelancers Union.

We hope these updates are helpful to you.


SR Holguin, PC