AB5, a bill designed to protect workers, has wreaked havoc on California’s independent contractors. Similar bills are in the works in other states. AB1928, a bill to reverse AB5, is up for a vote on Feb. 27. Relief could be speedy—or not.
Since AB5 took effect January 1, meeting and event planners are among the independent contractors (ICs) that have lost their livelihoods while hiring companies try to figure out what the bill requires. The bill, designed to address the issue of workers being misclassified as contractors by employers seeking to save money, is similar to bills pending in New York and other states, so this is an issue that bears watching.
However, help may be in the offing for California ICs. On February 27, Assemblyman Kevin Kiley will initiate a Floor Vote on AB1928, which would repeal AB5. “AB5 is destroying lives every day,” Kiley said. “We cannot wait any longer to stop the bleeding.”
While most bills do not take effect until January 1 of the year after they are passed, AB1928 is being proposed as an “urgency issue” which means it would take effect as soon as it is passed by both houses of the legislature and signed by the Governor.
Several bills are in the works to address the harm caused by AB5 but right now, the most important thing is to restore people’s livelihoods by reverting to the prior legal standard while changes are worked out, said Joshua Hoover, Assemblyman Kiley’s chief of staff. “Then we can address the problems of misclassification that AB5 was seeking to address.”
Several websites and groups have been collecting the stories of ICs being forced out of the workforce. Assemblyman Kiley’s office created a booklet of 200 stories of those impacted by AB5 and gave one to each legislator, Hoover said. “There has been a lot of public pressure on legislators who voted for AB5 from affected constituents. Assemblyman Kiley’s hope is that folks on both sides of the aisle will support our efforts to suspend the bill by repealing it.”
Legislators need to know that their constituents care and are adversely affected, Hoover said. “The more that people reach out, the more legislators will realize this is not just affecting a small group of people. Those who want AB5 repealed should ask their Senate and Assembly representatives to co-author and/or support AB1928.”
“Call and email,” he advised. “Let them know your personal story. Some people are calling and emailing once a day.”