Archive for June, 2010

Congress takes up freelance issue

By Carrie Madren

As freelance journalists we offer our services to businesses as independent contractors. Typically, we sign contracts with publications, clearly establishing the client/contractor relationship. Other publications operate on a less formal basis, and, as professionals, we know what’s expected of us. As independent contractors, we don’t expect to receive benefits such as health insurance or paid vacation. We know our tax obligations, and our clients are not responsible for deducting Social Security and income taxes. We choose to be independent for a plethora of reasons.

The Senate held a hearing last week focused on a bill that will create excessive paperwork requirements for businesses that use the services of independent contractors. The bill also will mandate inordinate penalties for failing to file the correct documents.

This bill, S.3254: Employee Misclassification Prevention Act , is intended to prevent businesses from intentionally misclassifying workers as contractors, rather than employees, for the purpose of skirting the responsibilities of an employer. However, its result will actually create an environment in which businesses will be deterred from using the services of an independent contractor, such as us.

If all publications are required to jump through the hoops of this legislation, some may be unwilling to use freelance services. Additionally, such high penalties could scare away clients — particularly those clients who are already teetering on the brink of using in-house work over freelance work.

Contact your Senators by phone, email or letter to let them know that this bill will stifle your freelance business.

Carrie Madren is an award-winning freelance journalist and storyteller based in Maryland and published in regional, national and international publications including Maryland Life magazine, E Magazine, The Ecologist,, Mother Nature Network, Bay Weekly newspaper, Bay Journal News Service and more.

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on Reddit

Newest Posts

Why Twitter’s concerns are journalists’ concerns July 29, 2015, 6:12 am
The flow of information: Reporting on water in the west July 28, 2015, 4:00 pm
Is Snapchat discovering a journalistic comeback? July 28, 2015, 2:29 am
Judging the Freedom of Information Act in environmental court July 27, 2015, 11:04 pm
It’s Alive: Code’s Supporting Documents Linked July 26, 2015, 8:13 pm
OU’s Young a winner July 24, 2015, 11:27 am
Otterbein 360 honored July 22, 2015, 8:15 pm

Copyright © 2007-2015 Society of Professional Journalists. All Rights Reserved. Legal

Society of Professional Journalists
Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center, 3909 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46208
317/927-8000 | Fax: 317/920-4789 | Contact SPJ Headquarters | Employment Opportunities | Advertise with SPJ