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Report: More Workers Seek Exemption From Employee Designation

Monday, April 15, 2019 | 481 | 0 | 36 min read

California business owners and self-employer workers made a pitch to be included among other groups that would not be subject to a pending bill to expand the use of a three-part test in determining who is an employee in labor disputes.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez

Assemblywoman
Lorena Gonzalez

The Orange County Register reports the employers on Thursday met at a local chamber of commerce to discuss their desire to be excluded from Assembly Bill 5. The bill, by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, would apply the so-called “ABC test” to all Labor Code issues, including workers’ compensation cases where employee status determines whether a person is an employee and therefore entitled to receive benefits for an occupational injury.

The state’s high court in the April 2018 Dynamex decision said the ABC test must be used for wage-order disputes. To be considered a contractor, a worker be free from the control and direction of an employer, performing work that’s outside the employer’s core business, and operate an independent business.

AB 5 already includes exemptions for doctors, insurance agents, securities brokers and direct sellers such as those hawking Amway.

“I think AB 5 needs to be expanded to include a broader group of contractors,” Theresa Harvey, president and chief executive officer of the North Orange County Chamber of Commerce, told the Register. “The gig economy benefits our overall economy in general.”

Gonzalez told the newspaper that discussions about the bill are ongoing.

The Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment voted 5-0 to pass AB 5 on April 3. The Assembly Appropriations Committee must pass the bill before the full chamber can vote on the measure.

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