On Thursday, February 27, a motion to suspend the California Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5) was voted down by the State Assembly.

How AB 5 affects Freelancers

To recap, AB 5 codifies a landmark Supreme Court of California case, Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles (2018), which restricts who can qualify as an independent contractor. In addition to common contractors, this ruling affects freelancer workers.  Freelancers are now employees until proven otherwise through the “ABC Test”.  But, in response to negative feedback from several freelancers, the author of AB 5 has promised to make changes to the law protecting some freelancers.

Potential Changes to AB 5

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, the author of AB 5, said: “Having heard additional feedback from a variety of freelance writers, photographers, and journalists, we are making changes to Assembly Bill 5 that accommodate their needs and still proved protections from misclassification.”

This action to change the AB 5 comes after several freelancers have come forward criticizing AB 5. One of the many is freelance journalist, Kathryn Ross, who has often worked with Pasadena Now and Pasadena Weekly. She said the following about the impact of AB 5 on her work life:

“Freelance writing helped me stay afloat throughout college and grad school by giving me a way to earn a steady income while keeping a flexible schedule and it’s become a cornerstone of my career today. AB 5 threatens my main source of income and puts me at a disadvantage with most companies simply because I live in California. I’m seriously concerned about how the law will change my work and daily life and I’m wary each time I get a new gig because I’m just not sure how long it’s going to last. It’s thrown a wrench in my sense of job security.”

Recognizing the impact of AB 5, Assemblyman Kevin Kiley and Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez co-authored AB 1928.  AB 1928 is an urgency measure that would repeal AB 5, reverting to the prior legal standard for independent contractors. They believed AB 5 should be suspended until further details and considerations were made.

However, AB 1928 was rejected by the State Assembly.  The rejection was largely due to Gonzalez’s announcement that changes were going to be made to AB 5.  The changes would make AB 5 “more palatable” by those affected, especially freelance writers, photographers, and journalists.

Conclusion

Unfortunately for freelancers the recent defeat suggests that the AB 5 is here to stay.  But, with Gonzalez’s announcement, freelancers should stay hopeful and be on the lookout for changes to the AB 5. If you are a business in need of assistance with matters regarding the AB 5 and independent contractors, please contact Hackler Flynn and Associates.

DISCLAIMER: Content within this post should not be considered legal advice and is for informational purposes only. Communications made through this post do not create an attorney-client relationship. Hackler Flynn & Associates is not responsible for any content that you may access from third-party resources that may be accessed through or linked to this post.

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