Jose A. Gonzalez
Are lawmakers helping or hindering your gig?
You might already have a demanding schedule, around which you would like to make some extra money. Or perhaps you need the flexibility to finish your degree or raise your children. No matter your reason for participating in the gig economy, you might find it to be your best personal choice for earning an income to support your family.
Although gigging does not come with health benefits or a retirement plan, many people prefer the opportunity to earn money when they can, rather than dedicating the majority of their waking hours to an employer. However, while new regulations are designed to protect your rights, you may question whether they infringe upon them.
Changes in employment legislation could make you an employee
The California state Assembly recently passed bill AB 5. If passed into law, the bill would assume that if you perform work-for-hire services, you are no longer a freelancer or independent contractor. Rather, you would classify as an employee, with the legal protections that accompany employment.
The current “ABC” test determines your employment status based on whether:
- The company can determine when and where you work
- Your job duties are outside the realm of what the business entity offers
- You customarily engage in an independent trade, which is of the same nature as the work the company performs
However, considering the legislative changes in question, you may no longer be able to contract with a company that performs the same type of work you do if this bill becomes law.
Why some oppose moving forward with AB 5
Some companies reportedly oppose the bill. And with the inclusion of employee benefits, adding another $6.4 billion to Californian businesses each year, consumers may also oppose the law meant to benefit workers if companies pass the costs down to them.
At the same time, reclassifying workers could further complicate your ability to earn an income. Unfortunately, as legislators work to provide fair employment laws in the gig economy, you may question whether they are genuinely trying to protect your rights.