Software developers, coders, and programmers in New York City are often hired on a per-job or per-hour basis. It is not uncommon for developers to moonlight on others’ projects in addition to their regular day jobs. Anyone who agrees to perform coding or programming work and who does not qualify as an employee (which includes receiving a W-2 from the hiring party) is a “freelancer” under New York law.
Retainers are not common in the programming industry. As such, developers–like most freelancers–are typically only paid after they complete some or all of their work. Many developers, after delivering a quality work product to their customers, face difficulty collecting for their work. This is because some companies are not shy about freeriding on the benefits of developers’ hard work while failing to pay for the voluminous code they bought.
Enter the Freelance Isn’t Free Act (“FIFA”). FIFA is a New York City law passed in 2017 to protect freelancers–including developers and coders–in the city. Let’s use “Bob” as an example:
Bob, like a typical developer, tracks his time on an hourly basis and bills his customer, Deadbeat Corp., each month with the amount of time Bill devoted to coding the project that month. Deadbeat Corp. timely pays Bob’s first few invoices, but as the project draws on and takes longer than Deadbeat Corp. would have liked, the company takes longer each month to pay Bob’s invoices. Deadbeat Corp. falls a little further behind every month but continues to ask for more and more changes to the project, requiring more work of Bob. Deadbeat Corp. also assures Bob it will hire him on more projects in the future.
Bob, trusting Deadbeat Corp. and not wanting to pass down a work opportunity, keeps working and sending regular invoices each month, but Deadbeat Corp. takes longer each month to pay and pays less of each invoice. In May, Deadbeat Corp. owes Bob $18,000. By July, Deadbeat Corp. owes Bob $23,000. By November, Deadbeat Corp. owes Bob $30,000 and Bob’s work is nearly complete. Bob repeatedly and politely asks for payment from Deadbeat Corp.’s finance department only to be told payment will be coming “soon.” Eventually, as the project is fully complete, Deadbeat Corp. stops responding to Bob altogether. More than sixty days have gone by and Bob is still owed $30,000. What should Bob do?
Bob should hire PayMeNYC to send a demand letter to Deadbeat Corp. and/or sue the company in a New York City court. In our example, Deadbeat Corp. has openly violated FIFA by failing to timely pay Bob’s invoices. As long as Bob has kept good records to prove the work he performed, Bob will be entitled to $60,000, or double the amount he thought he was owed, from Deadbeat Corp.
Are you owed money for your freelance software development, coding, or programming work? Fill out PayMeNYC’s Intake Form today to see how we can assist you.