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New Law Could Protect Freelance Workers in Illinois, Ensuring They Get Paid on Time

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Many people prefer freelancing because it offers more flexibility than most standard W-2 jobs. But some workers struggle to get their wages paid by clients in a timely manner. Keeping up with your bills and other financial obligations can be difficult if you’re not paid on time. A new law in Illinois aims to protect freelance workers and ensure their timely payment.

Introducing the Freelance Worker Protection Act

The Freelance Worker Protection Act was introduced in Illinois to protect freelance workers and aims to ensure workers are compensated by hiring parties for their services in a timely manner. The bill also guarantees freelancers the right to a written contract.

The bill defines a freelance worker as a person who is hired as an independent contractor to provide products or services in Illinois or for a contracting entity located in Illinois in exchange for an amount equal to or greater than $500, either in a single contract or when aggregated with all contracts worked during the immediately preceding 120 days.

The bill states the hiring party must pay the freelancer the contracted compensation amount on or before the date the compensation is due under the contract terms. If the contract terms don’t outline a payment date, the hiring party must pay the freelance worker no later than 30 days after the completion of the worker’s services.

The bill also prohibits hiring parties from asking freelance workers to accept less pay in exchange for getting paid faster. It would also allow freelancers to file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Labor if a hiring party violated their agreed-upon contract.

Since its introduction, the bill has passed both the Illinois State House and Senate and now awaits a signature from Governor J.B. Pritzker to become law. If signed, the law will go into effect on July 1, 2024. If you’re a freelance worker in Illinois, this news is worth knowing as it could positively impact your personal finances and make collecting payments easier and less stressful.

Why protections like this are needed for freelance workers

This bill could be a massive win for freelancers in Illinois. While freelancing has many benefits, contract workers have fewer protections than traditional employees.

A 2022 report from The Independent Economy Council found that many freelancers struggle with getting paid promptly. Below are some notable findings of the study:

  • 74% of freelancers aren’t getting paid on time.
  • 72% of freelancers have outstanding invoices that have gone unpaid by clients.
  • 59% of freelancers are owed $50,000 or more for already completed work.

These stats show that freelance workers could benefit from more legal protections. No worker should worry about whether they will get paid in enough time to cover their mortgage or rent payment. Consistent, on-time payments are vital for freelancers and their checking accounts.

Protections could come in 2024

Illinois freelancers now await the Freelance Worker Protection Act to be signed into law. If this bill becomes a law, it would help to ensure more freelancers in the state receive the pay they’re entitled to and that they’re paid in a fair amount of time. Every worker deserves that.

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