Update: Writers in CA Losing Contracts & Jobs to New IC Law

breaking news

Oh, man, this was all over Twitter this morning… California writers, PAY ATTENTION!

Big Job Losses

On January 1st, the new Independent Contractor law goes into effect here in CA. Originally designed to improve working conditions for contractors that were actually employees, it’s having a ripple effect in the world of content creators. According to posts by Writer Beware, California writers’ contracts will be cancelled as companies (like Vox Media) look elsewhere for their freelance work. 

See previous article on this subject

See “Vox Media Ends Work With California Freelance Writers Ahead of Gig Economy Law” at hollywoodreporter.com

See “Publishers Brace for California Labor Law Changes” at  Publishers Weekly

This is gonna put a LOT of people out of work. Maybe force them back into the labor force. Sadly, in CA right now the only plentiful jobs are in service-related industries that pay about $12-14/hr. This is not looking good. At first I thought maybe things would not go this badly once the new IC law goes into effect but I was WRONG. I never expected that freelancers in CA would lose their contracts or that companies would decide to cancel all work going forward.

CNBC reported that other media sites like Eater and Curbed are also changing their business relationships with CA freelancers, resulting in HUNDREDS of lost gigs. The big issue is the cap on writing 35 articles per year, written in the law’s language as “submissions.” What’s worse is CA freelancers won’t even be considered for company job notices like transcription and SEO writing because of the new IC law. Others are outright BLACKLISTING CA freelancers from applying. ?????!!!!!!

And that’s not all… now NY and NJ are considering similar legislation… don’t let them take away your ability to earn a living as a freelancer!

A Light on the Horizon?

A new FB group, California Freelance Writers United has banded together and met with legislators regarding a proposed amendment. If you live in CA, please join this group and stand up for your work! Let’s stand up for our bread and butter!

New CA Labor Law Affects How Writers and Other Content Creators Earn Their Money

 

write for money1_pickthebraindotcom

Source: Google Images/ pickthebrain.com

Just a quick note, this one is IMPORTANT. I’ll give you the gist but it would be best for you to click on the article link below, especially if you live in California and are a writer or some type of content creator (journalist, editor, photographer, etc.).

Dynamex Ruling

In April 2018, the California Supreme Court made a ruling (Dynamex Operations W., Inc. v. Super. Ct., No. S222732 [Cal. Apr. 30, 2018]) that changed the rules for freelancers – including writers and other content creators – here in California. Many earn their bread and butter as freelancers – aka independent contractors (IC) instead of as employees. According to the new ruling, people must be classified as employees, not IC, if the following criteria are not met.

A person is an IC/freelancer if s/he:

  • Is free to set his/her own hours, rates, and not subject to the control of the employer
  • Performs work that is outside the employer’s core business
  • Regularly engages in an independently established trade, occupation, or business

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye wrote in the decision “When a worker has not independently decided to engage in an independently established business but instead is simply designated an independent contractor … there is a substantial risk that the hiring business is attempting to evade the demands of an applicable wage order through misclassification.”

The End of Gig Work

I had a professional experience with this new ruling. While it ended in my favor, for many it has not. The new ruling basically ended gig work in California. I saw an almost immediate disappearance of gig jobs from the Internet. The positive is it forced those companies who were taking advantage of cheap labor to rectify their misclassification. The negative is it folded all content creators in with everyone else.

How does that affect writers? Read on…

In response to the ruling, California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez introduced AB 5 to amend this new law in consideration of all content creators. According to the article, others in freelance professions gathered together and “convinced lawmakers to carve out a partial exemption for writers, editors, journalists, and photographers.” Whew. That was close!

There’s more to this issue so read the full article to understand what limitations (albeit loose ones, I admit) are included in that partial exemption. Still, it’s a move toward the positive. Freelancers freelance so they don’t have to keep a J-O-B. Let’s hope California wises up and continues to update this new ruling to stay flexible in what defines an independent contractor versus an employee, for the sake of all content creators.

And spread the word!

https://www.authorsguild.org/industry-advocacy/authors-for-hire-what-the-new-california-labor-law-means-for-freelance-writers-journalists/

#CaliforniaSupremeCourt #independentcontractors #freelancewriters #journalists #editors #photographers