The New York bill would expand labor protections in the fashion and entertainment industry | McDermott Will & Emery


In response to growing demands to overhaul labor practices in the fashion industry, the New York State Legislature recently considered the New York Fashion Workers Act—an amendment to the state’s labor law—that would significantly expand job protection for those in the fashion and entertainment industries.

The bill (SB8638/A09762) made it out of the Senate Labor Committee but ultimately failed to receive a floor vote in the final days of the last legislative session. Below are some of the most important changes to the labor law that the bill proposed:

  1. Management companies would have a formal fiduciary duty to any model or creator that the management company manages, procures or attempts to manage.
  2. Commissions made by models and creative management companies will be limited to 20% of a model’s or creative’s salary.
  3. Models, photographers and other creative talent must be paid no later than 45 days after a job is completed. Additionally, funds must be deposited into a customer trust account for safekeeping.
  4. Management companies will have to notify former talents in writing if the management company collects royalties from talents they no longer represent.
  5. Management companies will be required to register with the New York State Department of Labor (Department) and file a $50,000 bond with the Department.
  6. In the event of a dispute with a client regarding late or nonpayment of services rendered, the management company would pay the talent and retain payment from the client when the dispute is resolved.

While the bill was not signed into law during the 2022 session, it is unlikely that these proposed changes will disappear entirely. Employers in the entertainment and fashion industries should prepare for a revival of this bill next year. McDermott Will & Emery will continue to monitor these proposals

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