The law, known as AB5 or the gig worker law, went into effect Jan. 1 and requires employers to reclassify a number of independent contractors as employees — offering health insurance, benefits and higher wages in some cases — if they fail to meet even one of the following conditions:
- The worker is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact;
- The worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and
- The worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed.
Labor unions support the law that was passed to prevent the exploitation of freelancers, but opponents say the law is causing them to lose work.
“I understand that there are misclassification issues that I feel are very legitimate, but the law is so broad-stroke in how it defines employment and independent contractor work that it basically outlaws independent contractors in the state of California,” Brian Ralston, a freelance music composer, said.
The workers who spoke at the protest said they have already lost a substantial amount of work from employers who were going out of state for labor or simply not hiring extra workers.