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.).
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!
#CaliforniaSupremeCourt #independentcontractors #freelancewriters #journalists #editors #photographers