Know your rights as a freelancer

The freelance office accommodations are pretty sweet, but inconsistent pay and lack of benefits can be a problem if you don't have a plan and do your research.

Sara Horowitz founded the New York-based Freelancers Union in 2003. Today, the union boasts 170,000 members and even created their own health insurance company in 2009. Her new book, “The Freelancer’s Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Have the Career of Your Dreams — On Your Terms,” will be released this month. We caught up with her for a preview.

How often do companies fail to pay freelancers?

From our surveys, 77 percent of people have had a client who hasn’t paid. After health insurance, the No. 1 issue for people is not getting paid, getting paid late or getting partial payment.

What do you do about that?

You need a good network. Find out about a company before you work for it, and don’t keep working if they’re not paying you. You can go to small claims court — but remember that even if you win, you may have to get a judgment. That can be a long process.

How do you insist on your rights while maintaining good relationships with your clients?

Of course, there’s no simple answer to that. But it’s always good to push for clarity: What is the assignment? What are the deliverables? It’s often good to write a memo summarizing that to make sure everybody is on the same page.

What is your response to people who say that unions have outlived their usefulness?

It’s funny; in the 1920s people often said that unions were dead. They were talking about a craft model that was for a workplace of the 1880s. Suddenly, in the 1930s, with mass production, there was a whole new kind of unionism. What a union is will continue to evolve. But the old ones don’t go away fully. They sit side by side.

A new route to health insurance

The Freelancers Insurance Company is currently only available for members living in New York state. But, beginning in 2014, the union will start three nonprofit health insurance companies in New York, New Jersey and Oregon. FIC claims their premiums are about 40 percent lower than typical individual plans. For more information, visit www.freelancersinsuranceco.com.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.