Independent Writers
of Chicago

Log in

The future of freelancing? Uh-oh. President’s Post by Laura Stigler

06 Mar 2020 4:46 PM | Cynthia Tomusiak (Administrator)

I am not one to press Panic buttons in anticipation of situations that may not come to fruition. But there’s a new law wending its way around the legislatures of several states that is raising the activist hackles in me. Already passed in California, introduced in New Jersey and New York and spreading, it’s a law that can have – and where it’s enacted, is having a pernicious effect on the careers of independent contractors, even to the point of eliminating their jobs altogether. Note: we’re not just talking Uber drivers. This includes freelancers in every line of work from journalism, advertising and public relations, to teachers, graphic artists, photographers and more. In other words, all of us. That’s 57 million Americans, according to a Freelancing in America Survey.

So why do we all freelance?

Whether we live it full time or part-time to supplement our incomes, we love the freedoms a freelancing life offers us. We love the flexibility it allows us in where we work, for whom we work, in how much we earn, in the number of hours we choose to work. Even in the time of day we work. Some of us are our most productive at 2:00 am! So be it. But “freedom” is the operative word here, and any lawmaker who treads on that in Illinois better prepare for a backlash. Because I for one will be on the front lines, marching to Springfield in unrelenting protest. And I hope you would join me.

To clearly understand the ramifications of this law, below is an excerpt from an excellent article in The Washington Post by Kim Kavin, a New Jersey journalist who is sounding the alarm and fighting against the passage of Senate Bill 4204. You can read the rest of the article here. If unable to access it, contact me and I’ll send a pdf.

Please read, beware and prepare accordingly.

- Laura Stigler

“In 2003, I walked away from my full-time, $80,000-a-year job as the executive editor of a national magazine. I had no other job lined up; I just had a hunch, having worked in the publishing business for about a decade, that I could have a better work-life balance and make a lot more money if I put out a shingle as a freelance writer and editor.

“As it turns out, I was right. Today, I work fewer hours, I work only the hours I want, and I make six figures. I’m happier, I get to pick my projects, and I get to choose which editors I want in my life. I am 47 years old with a career that is successful in pretty much every way.

“But that career will no longer exist if my home state of New Jersey and other states like it continue on their current path with independent contractor legislation, putting freelance journalists like me out of business....

“Based on the outcry that has erupted in New Jersey in the past few weeks, those of us in a frenzy are at the point of exasperation for good reason. The people raising their voices against this legislation include working mothers who need flexible schedules to care for kids. They are people who have a spouse or child with a chronic illness, and who need to be able to work between doctor’s appointments. They are people with disabilities who need to work whenever they feel up to it. They are people in professions that traditionally welcome women, jobs like marketing, publishing, public relations, teaching and communications, but where full-time opportunities are not what they used to be. They are people in their 40s, 50s and 60s who can thrive as independent contractors, but who, because of ageism, are likely to be last on the list as a full-time hire...”

-- Kim Kavin, “Laws to protect Uber drivers could put freelance journalists out of business.” The Washington Post, December 11, 2019, (PostEverything)

Read the rest here.

(Members can comment by clicking on the vertical dots next to the headline.)


Comments

  • 07 Mar 2020 6:51 PM | Tephra Miriam
    Seems like if you convert to an LLC or Corp you are protected? Is the law trying to weed out Sole Proprietorships?
    Link  •  Reply

Copyright 2011–2019, Independent Writers of Chicago
332 S. Michigan Avenue, #121–W686
Chicago, IL 60604-4434
800-804-IWOC

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software