What Freelance Writers Need to Know About Worker Misclassification (Anti-Independent Contractor) Bills

The movement to enact “employee-friendly” legislation took off in 2019, with the passage of California Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), which went into effect on January 1, 2020. Toward the end of 2019, New Jersey and New York legislators introduced similar legislation, followed by interest from other states. ASJA members have been key in fighting against these bills, which seeks to change the status of some independent contractors to employees.

The bills aim to address the issue of misclassified workers—when a company hires someone as an independent contractor (without benefits or protections) but then treats them as an employee. While some independent contractors are misclassified, many are not. Independent contractors in a variety of industries—including freelance writing— do not want to get swept up as collateral damage. This type of legislation (both proposed and passed) is already causing some writers to lose assignments. (For more information about the ABC test and worker misclassification, please see this page)

In addition to state legislation, federal legislation is in play. Delegates from the U.S. House of Representatives introduced the PRO Act (Protecting the Right to Organize) - HR2474, in May, 2019. This is a pro-labor bill that includes the California version of the ABC test. The bill passed the House of Representatives in February 2020.

These pages share resources to help you better understand the legislation on the state and federal level and advocate for yourself and your business.

FAQs, Myths & Facts About the Anti-Independent Contractor Laws and the ABCs

Federal Legislation: The PRO Act

State-level Legislation

General Resources

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