ROMEOVILLE, Ill. – In order to ensure that workers in Illinois are being treated fairly by employers, state Rep. Natalie Manley, D-Joliet, backed legislation that provides freelancers with a variety of basic rights, including strengthening provisions combating wage theft.
“All workers, regardless of their employment status, deserve to have commonsense, basic protections,” said Manley. “We cannot allow freelance workers to be taken advantage of by unscrupulous businesses that look for ways to short-change them for the services they provide.”
According to a survey done by Upwork, nearly 3 in 4 freelancers have reported experiencing late or non-payment, and lose $5,968 a year to wage theft on average. In addition, only about a quarter of freelancers say that they consistently have a written contract for work. To counteract this and ensure that freelancers are being protected from these predatory practices, Manley helped pass House Bill 1122, which was recently signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker. The bill requires that contracts between freelancers and hiring parties are written and explicitly state on what date or dates the freelancer will be paid for their work. The bill also strengthens the powers that the Illinois Department of Labor has to investigate wage theft and increases the fine amount for wage theft. Under the new law, freelancers can get back up to double the wages that were stolen from them.
“With so many working families living paycheck to paycheck, it can be devastating when workers aren’t paid on time or aren’t paid at all,” said Manley. “Theft is theft, no matter who is doing it. Whether it’s an individual or a multinational corporation, no one is above the law, and I will continue to work to crack down on those who look to unlawfully take money out of the pockets of hardworking residents.”