Comment from Vikas Arun

As a freelancer, I’m writing to support the decision that AB5 is not in line with the FLSA. AB5 places undue burden on the quickly growing freelancers of the US, by essentially forcing them into being employees. Contrary to rhetoric of unions and labor activists, the vast majority of freelancers or not being “taken advantage of” by large companies such as Uber and Lyft. The vast majority of independent contractors work for multiple organizations, most of which are small businesses. Most of the rhetoric and argument for AB5 hinges on a central assumption: that organization who currently have independent contractors will simply hire them as employees if they were legally required to. From this assumption stems the (outlandish) claim that instating AB5 will grow tax revenue for local, state, and federal authorities. What this assumption completely misses is that less than 10% of independent contractors work for Uber and Lyft, and less than 10% of those work more than 35 hours a week. The majority of freelancers work for multiple small businesses, and these businesses cannot afford to hire their independent contractors as employees; they will simply stop working with them. The uproar among independent contractors in California, and the subsequent perpetual loopholes that have been passed, hints at this reality. The New York Times recently put out a job request for a contributor to report on California, but clarified that, due to AB5, the journalist cannot live in California. Most industries use labor from within their industry in a just manner. Software companies hire contractors in the last few weeks to a product launch, dance studios contract guest teacher to come give higher level education to their kids, and plumbers use independent contracting to help fulfill demand as their businesses grow. The majority of independent contractors like their independent status and do not want to be classified as employees, because this would require them to work pre-scheduled shifts. The beauty of being an independent contractor, and the reason more people are choosing it, is because it allows them the flexibility to balance their work with their life. As many employees have learnt during Covid, under a traditional 9-5, this is extremely tough. The dichotomy of contractors and employees is extremely outdated, and mostly hinges around the concern of healthcare and taxes. If these are the primary concerns, we should adjust how independent contractors pay taxes and contribute to their healthcare; rather than forcing contractors into the archaic 9-5 work flow in the name of “fairness” and “freedom”. True freedom occurs when you let people chose to work they want to work, not restrict them to someone pre-defined pattern.

Comment ID: WHD-2020-0007-0040 | 6-Oct-20

Categorized under Independence

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