Warnings from California, the Harms of Attacking Entrepreneurs
Margarita Reyes is an actor and content and film producer in California. She primarily works in the indie film industry,
with low-budget filmmakers that do not have the budget to hire every employee as a full-time worker. So Margarita, along with hundreds of other actors and producers, often works as an independent contractor for filmmakers. Freelancing afforded Margarita an income and the flexibility to pursue her passion as she saw fit—until Assembly Bill 5 *(see definition below).
Margarita says that the indie film industry has been decimated by AB5, including the actors, writers, directors, and producers that work within it. She has not signed a film contract since January 1, 2020. She has since tried to find acting work that hasn’t been impacted by AB5, but her options have been even more limited since the COVID-19 crisis took its hold in the state.
Margarita knows the value of independent contracting more than most people: Freelancing had empowered her to provide for her family while raising her daughter as a single mother. Despite the impact that AB5 has had on her personally, she is more worried for the single parents, young mothers, and seniors who rely on contracting to survive. Freelancing sustained Margarita and her daughter when they needed the income most—she worries for those who have lost their ability to provide for their families as a result of AB5.
*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.