Freelancers and AB2257: Solving the Gig Worker Protection Puzzle in California

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W.carter / CC0September 8, 2020; National Law ReviewThe passage of California Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) last year was meant to ensure gig economy “independent contractors” received the protections other workers get. As the deadline for enforcement drew near, ride-hailing services in the state threatened to cease service entirely in order to—depending on your perspective—retool their model to start treating their drivers like employees or blackmail local government into letting them off the hook. (The appeals court granted Uber and Lyft a brief reprieve. Litigation is ongoing, and the court said they must have a 30-day implementation plan at the ready in case they lose their appeal.)The delay affects more than rideshare companies, however, because although the giant app conglomerates were the bill’s main target (along with delivery drivers—the original cause of the 2018 California state supreme court decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles), it also placed creative workers like performance artists and certain kinds of freelancers—including journalists—in the crosshairs. Yesterday, California’s governor Gavin Newsom signed AB2257, which gives greater leeway and exemption to 75 categories of workers like these.AB5, based on the Dynamex decision, applies a three-part test to …

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