It was enacted to protect workers in fields like construction, where companies would hire “independent contractors” who would put in 40-hour weeks, with no worker’s comp benefits or health insurance.
The law has ended up hurting a fair number of editorial and creative workers, though, as companies afraid of being fined are dumping their Mass.-based freelancers en masse.
Well, the law is still around and companies are still freaking out, though the Mass. Attorney General hasn’t actually prosecuted any cases yet, reports “Up In Your Business” contributor Kris Frieswick. (A still from her report is embedded above, as WGBH wouldn’t allow the entire video to be embedded.)
Ironically, Frieswick is a freelancer. She says that technically, all the companies that use her work—WGBH, the Boston Globe—are breaking the law, but so far she hasn’t seen her livelihood suffer.
Short version: there’s an amendment to the law making its way through the Massachusetts legislature, but probably won’t pass this year. Union leaders would prefer no changes to the law, because the more loopholes there are, the easier it is for companies to exploit workers.
In the meantime, freelancers fight on.