My typical workday begins at 8:30 a.m., as soon as my 3-year-old son with special needs leaves for preschool on the school bus. I work on various projects for my clients: planning social media calendars, writing blogs posts and editing video to share. Sometimes, I go to their offices for planning meetings or to go over what is working and what isn’t, in order to change the strategy, or to take photos and video “behind the scenes.” My workday concludes when my son steps off the school bus at 3:30 p.m. I also work on weekends when my husband is home to take care of our son.
Why I want to remain an independent contractor: I’ve always been a freelancer. I was a freelance television producer for 20 years prior to my current consulting role, and now, because I need to be home with my son and take him to therapy appointments after school, remaining a freelancer is the only way that I can still use my skills and help pay the bills. I could not work as an employee because I cannot keep 9-to-5 hours, plus commuting hours.
Why I Freelance: I love the autonomy—I can choose or decline projects at will, and make my own hours. And, I earn more as a freelancer than I did as an employee.
A lot of my freelance work allows me to work from home. I have autoimmune arthritis, so the lack of commute and flexibility of work hours allow me to better care for my health.
Why being an independent contractor is better for me: I actually feel that I have more job security. As a freelancer, I’ve worked hard to build a network of contacts, and I’m never without work when I need it. (In fact, I sometimes have to turn it away.) Earlier in my career when I was an employee, I was laid off several times from staff jobs because TV shows weren’t renewed and the production company hadn’t launched a new show to replace it. As a freelancer who works for multiple clients, if a show ends, all of my proverbial eggs aren’t in that basket anyway. I’m much more agile and able to increase my workload with another client.
Why I’m Worried: S4204/A5936 will decimate my ability to make a living in New Jersey, as well as my husband’s. (We’re both freelance video editors.) The way S4204/A5936 is written, it will make it impossible for me to remain an independent contractor in New Jersey. The legislation says that people like me can never go to a client’s office. Not even once. On occasion, I do go to an office, whether to get on the same page creatively through some face-to-face time, or because there’s too much media/data to work remotely.
I don’t think any of my clients would be willing to make me an employee—nor do I want to be their employee! My New York City-based clients will simply replace me with New York City-based freelancers. I work remotely for all of my non-New York City clients, so they’ll replace me with someone from anywhere else.
What Legislators Should Know: I love being a self-employed, independent contractor! Myself and many others choose to be freelancers. I understand that the bill has good intentions by curbing things like permalancing (where you “freelance” endlessly for only one client but without benefits.)
However many of us are truly freelancing and benefitting greatly from it. (So is NJ, now that a good amount of my work is from home in NJ, I spend more money in NJ!) We just bought a house in District 11, and I hope to stay here. I will be heartbroken if this bill passes.