Creative Professionals Pushing Back on California's New Gig Economy Law

California's new gig economy law, AB5, is not being well received by independent creative professionals. Freelance writers, musicians, actors, artists, and other creative professionals are finding the new law is damaging their livelihoods.

Indie musicians are a good example. Key quote from the musician's anti-AB5 petition:

AB5 will have a devastating and catastrophic impact on independent musicians, their livelihoods and the music industry in general in California. Musicians’ businesses operate in a substantially different way than many other types of industries, and the changes brought by AB5 are not sustainable with our business model.

Indie musicians

The petition also points out what we think is one of the biggest problems with AB5, which is the way the law is written is scaring off companies from hiring independent workers, even if they are properly classified as contractors.

Again from the musicians' petition:

"We are, frankly, terrified of AB5 as it applies to us. The ABC test is so strict and the fines are so high that many entities will simply stop using California musicians altogether."

And it's not just musicians that need to be worried about this.

We're hearing from a number of companies that they either reducing or eliminating hiring California-based independent contractors in a wide range of professions due to AB5.

They're doing this because they believe the law is so broadly and vaguely worded - and the penalties so severe - that hiring even independent contractors they believe are properly classified as independents is simply not worth the risk.

Instead, they're hiring remote contractors, moving the work to other states or outsourcing the work to agencies of various kinds.

The good news is the mounting backlash against AB5 has the California legislature's attention. Because of this, they are working on various ways to clean up AB5 and reduce its negative impacts on legitimate independent workers.

For more on how indie musicians view AB5, see Ari's Take's blog post I MET WITH SENATE MAJORITY LEADER OF CA ABOUT AB5. HERE'S HOW IT WENT.