Demanding Rights in an On-Demand Economy: Key Findings from Year One of NYC's Freelance Isn't Free Act

The Freelance Isn’t Free Act, the first law of its kind in the country, took effect on May 15, 2017 – giving freelance workers the legal right to written contracts, timely payment, and freedom from retaliation. In its first year, DCA received 299 inquiries about the law and 264 complaints from freelancers. The most common allegations were for payment violations (98 percent), including late payment and non-payment for services. To date, DCA has assisted freelancers in recovering $254,866 in lost wages. DCA will use the report’s findings to strengthen outreach and education of this critical workplace law to workers and hiring parties alike.

Reports on Paid Care Workers in New York City

DCA’s Office of Labor Policy & Standards (OLPS) houses the Paid Care Division, the only governmental office in the United States charged with raising job standards in care industries. On March 27, 2018, DCA released a report titled, “Lifting up Paid Care Work: Year One of New York City’s Paid Care Division,” which provides an analysis of what the City’s Paid Care Division has learned, model standards for paid care jobs, an overview of its accomplishments, and a roadmap for action it plans to take in the years to come as the Paid Care Division concludes its first year. In partnership with Ruth Milkman of The City University of New York, DCA also released the “Making Paid Care Work Visible” report, which, using focus group and survey results, details the concerns of New York City’s home-based paid care workers whose voices are too often unheard or disregarded by policymakers or by the wider public. Home-based paid care work is a rapidly growing field of employment in New York City and across the nation; paid care workers provide essential care to children, the elderly and disabled, as well as basic services like house cleaning. Yet this type of work is notorious for low pay and status, leaving workers economically insecure, vulnerable, and disrespected. Together, the reports provide critical insight into the growing need for OLPS’ role in the development of innovative policies that raise job standards, and for the Paid Care Division to expand its outreach and educational resources to workers and employers alike in its second year.

The State of Workers' Rights in New York City: Report Release and Roundtable Discussion

On September 20, 2017, the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs’ (DCA) Office of Labor Policy & Standards (OLPS) released the “State of Workers’ Rights” report at City Hall. DCA, the New York City Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) participated in a roundtable discussion with advocacy groups, worker organizations, and labor unions about the report’s findings and the issues affecting workers in New York City. OLPS also released the 2017 Empire State Poll results, in which OLPS partnered with the Worker Institute at Cornell University to survey New Yorkers on a range of issues related to inequality, working conditions, and the role of city and local government in protecting immigrants and defending worker rights.

Public Hearing on the State of Workers' Rights in NYC

On April 25, 2017, the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Office of Labor Policy & Standards (OLPS), in collaboration with the New York City Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), convened a public hearing on the state of workers’ rights in New York City at LaGuardia Community College in Queens. Testimony provided by workers and organizations help to inform OLPS’ future efforts to protect workers, and offer insight on the emerging gap in labor protections, particularly for low-wage and vulnerable workers.

DCA Events

DCA participates in many community events to address consumer and worker issues and attends industry events to help businesses understand City laws, including licensing and workplace regulations. See our calendar.

Low-Cost Health Insurance

The NYC Human Resources Administration can help you find health insurance and care that meets your needs and budget. Call 311, text CoveredNYC (or SeguroNYC) to 877877, visit to find a Health Department Certified Application Counselor for free in-person help.

NYC Financial Empowerment Centers

NYC Financial Empowerment Centers offer free one-on-one professional financial counseling. The service is confidential, and our professional counselors speak multiple languages. Learn more about NYC Financial Empowerment Centers.

NYC Free Tax Prep

If you earned $66,000 or less in 2017, use NYC Free Tax Prep to file for free and keep your whole refund. Learn more NYC Free Tax Prep.

NYC Direct Deposit

The City of New York is committed to helping New Yorkers protect their money and make the most of their hard-earned dollars. The NYC Direct Deposit program provides free checking accounts to workers who directly deposit their pay. Learn more about NYC Direct Deposit.

NYS Department of Labor

The NYS Department of Labor enforces the State Labor Law for minimum wage, hours of work, child labor, payment of wages and wage supplements, migrant farm labor, and conditions in the garment industry. The agency protect workers, assist the unemployed and connect job seekers to jobs. Learn more about the NYS Department of Labor.

NYS Workers' Compensation Board

Workers' compensation is insurance that provides cash benefits and/or medical care for workers who are injured or become ill as a direct result of their job. Disability benefits are temporary cash benefits paid to eligible wage earners, when workers are disabled by an off the job injury or illness. Learn more about the NYS Workers' Compensation Board.