AB5

READER’S EDITORIAL: UNDERSTANDING AB5 IN CRISIS

The State that started out saying “we need to protect these workers” is now refusing to send the same workers money that Congress specifically appropriated for independent contractors.

By Barbara Bry, San Diego mayoral candidate

April 15, 2020 (San Diego) -- We all want to protect workers. But, so-called “Gig” workers (independent contractors) are often underpaid and left out of important safety net programs like unemployment insurance. This has always been the case, but historically it was a relatively small portion of the workforce.


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GONZALEZ-FLETCHER ADDS $20 MILLION TO BUDGET TO PARTIALLY OFFSET AB 5 IMPACTS ON NONPROFIT ARTS GROUPS, BUT FALLS FAR SHORT OF HELP NEEDED

By Miriam Raftery
 
March 7, 2020 (Sacramento)-- Musicians, artists and nonprofit arts groups are among the hardest hit by AB 5, the new law authored by Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher (D-San Diego) requiring that many freelancers be reclassified as employees – a prohibitively costly mandate for many small nonprofits. Now Gonzalez-Fletcher is offering some help, though it amounts to a Bandaid approach to the wounds inflicted on the arts and music industries by the new law.
 
Last month, Gonzalez-Fletcher  along with Assemblymember Christy Smith (D-Santa Clarita) asked for $20 million to be added to the state budget for the California Arts Council to help small community nonprofit arts groups comply with AB 5, but only in the first year. But there is no guarantee of funding for applicants, nor any help to meet ongoing enormous costs of complying in future years--such as paying unemployment insurance, workman’s compensation and other annual costs for all employees, as well as added payroll deduction and accounting costs. 
 
Moreover, the measure only helps nonprofits able to win grants and show good-faith effort to comply with AB 5. Even then, the measure offers no help to meet ongoing high costs, nor does it offer any assistance to for-profit companies nor to individual artists or musicians losing work due to the new law.

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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

BRIAN JONES COAUTHORS BILLS TO REPEAL, REFORM AB 5 “GIG WORKER” LAW THAT IS HARMING INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS’ LIVELIHOODS; CONGRESS TO VOTE ON BILL SIMILAR TO AB 5 THIS WEEK

 

A national version of AB 5 is slated, which radically revises employment laws, is slated to be voted on in the House of Representatives this week with backing of California's two Senators

By Miriam Raftery

Image courtesy of #FightForFreelancers, which is battling a measure similar to California's AB 5 law. The seriously flaws legislation in our state is being emulated across the nation even as lawsuits, reform and repeal measures are pending in California.

February 4, 2020 (San Diego) – State Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee) is  coauthoring multiple bills to repeal and/or reform Assembly Bill 5, which took effect January 1, decimating independent contractors in a wide range of fields as well as the businesses and nonprofits that have long relied on freelancres.

AB 5 was introduced by Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher (D-San Diego), a former labor leader who touted it as a way of cracking down on companies such as Uber and Lyft for exploiting workers and forces even small businesses and nonprofits to make most workers employees rather than independent contractors.

But the costs of doing so are prohibitively high for many businesses and organizations, putting their futures at risk. The law has also had devastating effects on freelancers across at least 150 fields including musicians, writers, artists, actors, dancers, nurses, consultants, translators, photographers, teachers and other independent contractors who value their freedom and flexible schedules and don’t want to be employees.

Some are now unable to find work due to AB 5, as out of state companies cancel gigs with California freelancers, unwilling to risk criminal penalties and huge fines for misclassifying workers under the convoluted, complex and confusing terms of the law. Other freelancers have shelled out high costs to start their own companies in order to qualify for business-to-business exemptions in the bill, but receive no benefits for those expenditures.


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.