California’s contractor law AB 5 manages to be bad for workers, customers and companies

Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva votes to kill the gig economy

By Adrian Moore and Teri Moore, Orange County Register | California is often viewed as the nation’s leading state.

Unfortunately, its latest piece of landmark legislation risks lassoing the flourishing gig economy and dragging it back to the pre-internet age under the guise of protecting workers.

California’s Assembly Bill 5, headed to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk (and he’s said he’ll sign it), redefines how companies can define independent contractors and employees, which could dramatically alter the state’s economy.

The internet-based industries and services that form the on-demand or “freelance” economy have risen to fill holes in the market, creating opportunities for workers and consumers and boosting local economies across the state.

Digital platforms like Upwork, TaskRabbit and ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft connect workers, goods and services to customers by offering contract work to part-timers, temporary workers and even some full-timers without the structures of traditional, full-time work.

This “gig” work fills market demand dynamically, something traditional work often fails to do.

For example, Uber and Lyft drivers make more money and have more opportunities when they choose to work during surges of consumer demand, making it a win-win for drivers, ride-hailing customers and companies.

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