I just came across an article on one of my social media feeds and spent the whole day reading about it. Having said that, I still don’t feel that I have a firm grasp of the situation but I do feel that the implications are not going to be good for us freelancers. If you’re a freelancer from California, you’ve probably felt the impact already. I’d be interested to know your thoughts on this as well and anyone else who’s been affected by this chain of legislation.
Just to help spread awareness, here’s my summary/understanding of AB 5. The AB 5 is short for Assembly Bill 5 that was passed in California and takes effect Jan. 1, 2020 (only for California). This bill spells out the way employees are classified in an attempt to make it more difficult for employers to label workers as freelancers (thereby reducing overhead costs for the employer) instead of employees. So what I got most out of the articles I’ve read is that there is a number of jobs a freelancer can do for an employer before the employer must classify that worker as an employee and thus contribute to Social Security, Medicare etc etc and that number is 35 submissions per year. That’s not even one submission a week!
This sounds good right? Making freelancers employees that get benefits and such. Well currently it seems, it’s largely not happening but to the contrary, layoffs and restructuring is more on the agenda. Current freelancers already established with a company are essentially getting a pay cut at the very least. It’s also been said that this pretty much destroys freelancers worldwide from getting work from California companies. I wonder if that’s the case though because it may just open up the door for smaller freelancers, like me, to get a couple more jobs because their “go to” freelancers have hit the max submissions per year. I suppose only time will tell if companies are willing to shoulder the extra expenses of having employees instead of freelancers or just get more freelancers.
I really want to talk (and learn) more about this but I’m not currently residing in the USA and thus not really in tune with the on goings over there and my current knowledge of the subject is too small, I’d probably only be able to ask annoyingly simple questions, haha.
As a freelance photojournalist, I have to wonder how far this will go and what impact it will have on me when I eventually move back to the USA. I’m pretty sure if things don’t go sideways in California, then other States will adopt similar legislation but even if things do go sideways, some States may implement a similar law anyways. From what I’ve read, the impact on journalists and photographers is pretty big, so far and quite alarming.
Here’s the article I came across that lead me to a whole day of reading…
California’s new employment law has boomeranged and is starting to crush freelancers
If you’re even remotely interested in this matter, then please keep a lookout for anything similar in your State (if you’re in the USA) and if there’s anything you can do, like write to your representative then do so, every little bit counts.
Thanks for viewing and best wishes!
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