California’s New Law Heavily Impacting Gig Economy Workers


A new law, signed by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, went into effect the first day of January 2020 called Assembly Bill 5. This law is intended to increase gig economy worker protections, but has been receiving lots of backlash. This law changes the independent contractor relationship, making freelance workers be treated as employees with benefits and protections. The companies most affected by this are companies like Uber, Lyft, Postmates, and Doordash. These companies have come together to fund a $110 million ballot initiative against AB5. Freelance workers are also struggling with the new law in effect, impacting musicians, health aids, and journalists.

An interview was done with Cabot Phillips, the editor-in-chief of Campus Reform, where he said the new law restricts a big component of the company: student writers. These students are looking for experience while earning some cash and now they are restricted on how much they can write or even let go after writing a certain amount of articles. California Campus Correspondent Tahmineh Dehbozorgi said, “under this law, I and other student journalists in California will write fewer stories. For me, that could mean less accountability for colleges and universities at a time when it is most needed.”

As court orders started to go out challenging the law, temporary enforcement exemption was given for the California trucking industry but freelance journalists weren’t so lucky with their exemption not being granted. The judge scheduled a hearing in March, giving time to consider complaints.

Lorenza Gonzalez, the chief author of AB5, said the intention of the law was to protect workers who have been misclassified by employers. Gonzalez defends her law, but has also has seen the criticisms since the release and plans to update the law.

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