Warnings from California, the Harms of Attacking Entrepreneurs
Shelby Givan was a full-time teacher until she became pregnant with her first child in 2019. In order to spend more time at home with her son, she elected to begin job sharing
at her local elementary school, splitting responsibility with another educator. She also began working as a freelance educator to supplement her income. The contract role—a virtual learning opportunity that was based overseas—allowed her to work early in the morning before her son woke up, enabling her to spend most days fully devoted to being a full-time, stay-at-home mother. But the passage of Assembly Bill 5 *(see definition below) changed that. Shelby, along with many of her California-based friends who also worked as freelance educators, was notified that she was no longer legally allowed to work.
Shelby’s family was faced with several decisions, including her potentially having to return to full-time work and leave her son in someone else’s care, a decision that she felt was being made for her.
“It’s like the government is trying to tell me that they know what’s best for me and for my family more than I do,” Shelby said. “They took away my right to work and my right to make decisions about my own life. It’s impacting my ability to be the mother that I want to be and forcing me to take time away from my family, and for me, that’s personal.”
So personal, in fact, that it led Shelby and her family to relocate out of California. The family is moving to Idaho, where Shelby can freely work as she sees fit, including becoming an independent contractor once more.
*Assembly Bill (AB) 5 was recently signed into law in California and has had devastating effects on independent contractors and freelancers in the Golden State. AB5 replaces the common law test with the ABC test to determine whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor. Since the law went into effect on January 1, 2020, hiring entities are now required to classify workers as employees unless they meet all conditions of an ABC test.