NYC Now Protects Against Wage Theft for Freelancers & What Creatives Living in NYC Need to Know

In case you didn't know already, succeeding in New York City's kind of a b*tch. It's a pain. It's hard. But, as is the case in a city full of millions of other human beings, you're not alone. It's hard for everyone. 

It's hard for MTA employees. It's hard for retail workers, entrepreneurs, business people doing business things, bankers, investment bankers (LOL), teachers, dog walkers―shit's rough for everyone, and― not especially, but in certain ways, yes, sort of especially―definitely for artists, writers, photographers, and creatives. 

With so many different ways of approaching how to sustain the creative dream, there comes also as many, if not more, ways to take advantage of those trying to do so. 

We're talking freelancers, NYC's newly-protected business sector. 

Newly-protected business sector? Well, yeah. Until Thursday, October 27th, companies were basically abusing freelancers by, as you can imagine, not paying them for services rendered. 

So let's break down the act, what it means for you, what it means for us (spoiled NYC), and what it means moving forward... because! 

Well, we're hiring. Sort of. 

We're looking to bring in a diverse slew of talented, otherworldly minded, outrageously creative minds to the table. Right now, our table is small. 

So we want to get crowded. We want like, a really rowdy Thanksgiving dinner where there are too many uninvited guests, not enough chairs, but magically, just enough food so nobody, including that b*tch Aunt Carol (You're drunk―again. Go. Home.) can't say sh*t.

So, read on. Make sure you look at all of what we're trying to do, and if it sounds like you maybe want to contribute to the changes we're making, hit us up.

But back to the Freelance Isn't Free Act. 

What's changed? 


It changes... everything. Kidding. Basically, the Freelance Isn't Free Act demands transparency and accountability from employers by introducing a handy little thing we know as required paperwork ("Getting your sh*t in writing"). 


The paperwork lays out the parameters and timetables for when both the work is due and when the payment must be processed. 

Why was that an issue? 


Are you f*cking kidding? LOL. I mean, yeah. It seems like common sense. Why was paying people for their work such a big deal? 

 “New York is in some ways at the center of the gig economy, of the evolution of the economy to more independent and contingent work,” Brad Lander, the councilman who introduced the legislation, told The New York Times.

He added that the existing employment and labor laws are “so badly outdated they don’t give the basic protections all workers expect, much less broader support and benefits to all workers in the growing gig economy.”

So it started with outdated labor laws and then funneled right down through really sh*tty people. 

Who does this really affect? 


Well, according to a survey conducted by the Freelancers Union―yeah, that's an actual thing―concluded that "half of all freelancers nationwide said they had encountered trouble getting paid in 2014, and that more than 70 percent struggled to collect payment at some point in their careers."

So, it affects a lot of people. People like video creators and editors, photographers, website designers, and creative consultants were getting totally burned by employers who may or may not have had any interest in paying them to begin with.

And how are they protected?


Well, in the past, it's likely that a lot of these people wronged never got the scope of work and payment procedures in writing. 

They didn't get paid, maybe took it to small claims courts, and when asked to produce a contract basically had to say, "Well, I didn't get it in writing, but we talked. They gave me their word." 

Now? Now you can not only get your sh*t in writing, but you can get more bang for your buck if you have to take action as the bill also stipulates that freelancers who do not receive full payment on time are to receive double damages if they win in court. 

"So, for example, freelancers who previously would have been awarded $5,000 in damages from a company that failed to pay them would collect $10,000 if they prevailed. On top of that, the court would automatically require the company to pay their legal fees and would award an additional amount if there were no contract or an incomplete contract," the Times reported.

What does it all mean?! Are we getting paid?


Well, it's a good bill. It's a great bill. It's beautiful and quirky and full of personality. There are still a lot of things this bill doesn't get completely right, so it does need to be tweaked to offer the maximum protection it's truly intended to provide. 

And for a greater detail of its defects, check out this article from

As for what it means for us, well, we're looking to bring in more writers interested in doing what we've done, what we're doing, and guide us into the strange world that 2017 will undoubtedly become after Tuesday's election. 

You said this had something to do with YOU!


Yes. Are you a college kid looking to write for an audience of more than 2 million people every week? Do you know how to do dope sh*t with video? Are you a highly-imaginative, chock-full-of-raw talent graphic designer? Do you know everything there ever is to know about social media? 

Cool. We're looking for paid interns in all of that (calm down; paid means travel stipends of $200/month with no guaranteed opportunity for growth or permanence). For that, you can always hit us up on, or drop us a line here.

But what about a freelance writing position? YAAAS! You might remember the classic sh*t we used to do back in the day. Like this, and this, and this. We want to do that all over again, but new and exciting and wildly important (ask your mom [editor's note: ask my mom. Her answer will astound you!])

But are you tired of listicles? Cool. So are we, sort of. There's a place for them, but there's a place for tons of other dope things, too, and it really comes down to what you want to say. 

Do you want to write an open letter to that creep on the subway that asked you if you had two nickels―and two nickels only? Weird, but it happens. We get it. Or the UWS Bag Lady? Or the struggling actor serving you drinks behind a bar near Grand Central? Do it! Do it with us! 

Who we are


spoiled NYC is the consumer-facing platform of spoiled Media, an experiential media company highlighting and creating unique experiences for adventurous New Yorkers, both native and visiting, through content, unique giveaways, and stupidly fun events. 

Jargon jargon jargon... we want to talk about what it means to be a New Yorker living in New York City at the time we do. We want to highlight what was great, what is great, and what will be great down the line.  


We're millennials writing with every New Yorker in mind―native, transplant, from-a-distance admirer (if you really want to send us your love letters to NYC from, IDK, Wyoming, well, I can't guarantee it'll be published, but I'll read it).  

What we've done


Oh, haven't you been reading? 

What we pay


Calm down. It's not a lot. But, as is the case with freelance, sustainability is all about getting out what you put in. And hey, we're being transparent like a motherf*cker, so, there's that.

For the listicles, we offer $25 a pop. For experiential pieces (often turned into listicles like this), we do $50 (and partial/full reimbursement for the experience).

Interviews, we also do at least $50 (depending on subject & quality of the piece, we might bump higher). More often than not, interviews are actually assigned out after a PR person of some kind has reached out to us, but we're totally down (and would even pay extra) for something you set up yourself.

Next-level sheit—whatever the hell that means (we have an idea it looks like this piece and this one) we pay $75+ depending, of course, on the idea and quality of the piece. You want to write an open letter to some inanimate object or idea about NYC? We got you. 

You want to write a think-piece on gentrification―how your 'hood has changed in the past 5, 10, 15 years (or months, really), or gentrifying agents inherent in transplantism? You want to defend the selfie-stick tourist at the World Trade Memorial? Good f*cking luck, but still. We'll read it. 

And yes, "quality of the piece" is pretty subjective, but that comes down to angle, strength of prose, readiness for publication, and basically an editorial gut instinct at the end that says, "Damn. I really like that."

Does any of this sound like you? Cool. Good. We're writing new shit. We want you to write with us. Send us a cover letter, writing samples, pitches, excerpts―whatever! Send it all. We'll talk to you. 

[Feature Image Courtesy NYC Councilmatic] 

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