As we have previously reported here, California Assembly Bill 5 (the bill) is slated to codify the California Supreme Court’s 2018 landmark decision in Dynamex Operations West v. Superior Court of Los Angeles, requiring companies to apply the “ABC” test in classifying their workers. The ABC test requires that workers be considered “employees” instead of “independent contractors” if their work is part of the employer’s regular business, or if the employer exercises control over how its workers complete their jobs.
Yesterday, the California Senate approved the bill as currently drafted and returned it to the State Assembly, as a matter of formality, where it is expected to be approved. The bill received much opposition from various gig-economy companies despite Governor Gavin Newsom’s endorsement. Once the Assembly passes the bill, Governor Newsom is expected to sign it into law, with an effective date of January 1, 2020. The bill will apply to many workers previously classified as independent contractors, and will apply to app-based companies operating in the gig-economy space, which will notably transform the gig economy in California.
In recent months, the bill was amended to include various carveouts for approximately 50 industries, including salon workers, insurance agents, doctors, lawyers, accountants, and securities brokers.
Notably absent from the current form of the bill is an exclusion for gig-economy workers. App-based companies have traditionally operated on a business model that touts the flexibility of the independent contractor model, which has been embraced by many gig workers, notwithstanding the lack of legal protections afforded to employees in the areas of earnings and benefits. However, if the bill is signed into law in its current form, gig-economy workers will be considered employees entitled to labor protections, which will likely increase the amount of wages and benefits such workers currently earn.
It is anticipated that the bill will have far-reaching consequences in California, affecting approximately 1 million workers previously classified as independent contractors and companies whose business models are based on utilizing independent contractors, who tend to be less expensive than employees. Once the bill is signed into law, most workers will likely need to be classified as employees entitled to minimum wage, overtime, and unemployment benefits. These newly classified employees may also gain the right to join a labor union.
Continue Reading California leads the way in passing landmark legislation to classify gig workers as employees