EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - If you’re one of two million freelancers in Southern California, you’ll want to know about Assembly Bill 5.
The California State Assembly recently passed the bill and the California State Senate will first hear about it on July 10.
Julio Martell drives for Uber to pay the bills.
“Not listening to nobody you know, be your own boss, that’s pretty much the only good thing that I can really say about self contracting,” said Martell.
Martell doesn’t get health insurance or other protections right now through his job. That may change with the new labor bill heading to the state senate. If it passes, employees like Martell will no longer be considered independent contractors, which he would be happy about.
“I prefer being an employee,” said Martell.
Hair stylist Victoria Amy is glad this won’t affect her. She has been doing hair for about 40 years.
When Amy started she was a salon employee getting commission. Now she is her own boss— an independent contractor.
“Yeah there are a lot of reasons why we don’t want to be employees again,” said Amy.
Amy rents her own space and cleans it herself. She doesn’t have employer-provided benefits like health insurance.
“Well I can come in when I want to come in. I set my hours when I want to. I can go on vacation when I want to,” said Amy.
Assembly Bill 5 was introduced back in December of 2018. Basically it will change how the state classifies independent contractors versus full-time employees.
“There’s pro’s and con’s on both sides… At least full-time employees are, you know, eligible for benefits,” said Martell.
This could affect not only millions of people, but also the companies they work for. Benefits like labor protections, health care, overtime, and minimum wage could be on the table for these contract workers.
A spokesman for Lyft told us the bill could mean limiting drivers' hours, requiring shifts, and greatly reducing the current workforce.
Some industries have pushed to be exempt from the bill. That’s why Amy likely won’t be affected. Hair stylists, doctors, and insurance agents are some of the jobs that are exempt from the bill’s changes.
The bill has gone through several changes. But if passed, the resulting changes for Californians could be massive.