Uber and Lyft garner most of the headlines on reports of state and local governments attempts to regulate and restrain growth in gig economy work. We written here about Seattle’s proposed “ride-share tax” and referenced California’s weeping gig economy law.
That California law appears to be a work in progress. The Hill reports,
There are a number of lingering questions about the controversial legislation, which California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed into law last week — including what it will look like by the time it’s implemented.
Newsom has already vowed to seek changes that carve out a middle ground between the labor organizers behind the push and companies like Uber and Lyft, which are planning to funnel millions of dollars into a ballot measure intended to overturn the law…
But no matter where the state-level debate winds up, labor advocates and industry watchers say the law — dubbed Assembly Bill 5, or A.B. 5 — is a game-changer when it comes to regulating how gig economy companies are allowed to treat their workers. And if other states adopt California’s approach, companies like Uber, Lyft and DoorDash will find it harder to move forward with the same business model.
…Golden State legislators outdid themselves by passing Assembly Bill 5, signed last month by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Effective Jan. 1, the law reclassifies most independent contractors as full-time employees. This codifies the state Supreme Court’s 2018 Dynamex decision about “misclassified” freelancers.
The new law was pitched as a simple measure to provide contract workers with benefits like sick leave and health care. Yet as the dust clears, many ugly details are emerging. There were lots of carve-outs: for doctors, lawyers, accountants, psychologists, insurance agents like Jake from State Farm. But here’s something weird: Freelance journalists are limited to 35 submissions a year per “putative” employer.
He traces some of organized labor’s interest in moving workers from freelance to employee status. Here’s the crux:
The law was aimed at Uber and Lyft drivers. Yet now scriptwriters, actors, housekeepers, gardeners and many other types of contract workers will have their livelihoods threatened by Sacramento saps.
Like many independent contractors, I prefer not to be hired as an employee…
…many disabled people or parents with young children would rather work freelance from home than trudge to an office. Retaining more workers directly will send employers’ costs up, up, up. Uber, Lyft and DoorDash are spending about $30 million each to fund a ballot initiative to kill AB 5, but votes won’t be cast until November 2020. Ugh.
Worth reading. And watching. Washington tends to follow California’s lead on these things.