Comment from Margarita Reyes

As a single-parent, I raised my daughter with a mix of w2 and 1099 income. My work sustained us and my daughter is now a senior in college. I’m so proud of her and so grateful that I was able to continue my work and raise my child. But a change in independent contractor status could seriously harm not just myself, but millions like me, who depend on this work as our careers.

I am an independent filmmaker, actor, director, writer, and film mentor to youth. I have worked with over 400 young people in Los Angeles and surrounding areas. The majority of these students come from underrepresented and impoverished communities who lack resources for film arts programs. The arts are integral to an education but also benefit our students when utilized in conjunction with our current educational system. My work with youth is jeopardized because of laws like the destructive AB5 in CA. Our arts programs rely on contracting with professionals for short periods of time. I enjoy contributing to our youth programs in between my professional work as an actor/filmmaker.

I live in California and have seen the destruction that Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) has wreaked on our lives. I’ve personally read hundreds, thousands, of AB5 Victim stories. Stories of the “unintended” consequences of the law on our lives. A hashtag exists to document the decimation of freelance in California. #AB5Stories

I am impacted. Before the latest “fix” bill AB2257, my indie production work as a producer was threatened. My mentor work disappeared before Covid19. Why not allow professionals who want to contract with arts orgs to contract for short term periods? Why not allow us to contract with each other as we have done until last year? I am not exploited. I negotiate my own rates, we have our own health insurance, pay our taxes, and contribute to our community.

The “B” prong in the ABC test is unworkable. The B prong says “The person performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business.” The ABC test exists within the PRO Act and AB5. If I want to co direct and produce a film with a colleague, I have to employ my co director instead of just signing a contract with our negotiated terms. This is usual in this business. But now, AB5 says I have to hire my co director and put them through payroll instead of sending a 1099. We also lose our business deductions and potentially lose our intelectual property rights. I have invested in time, equipment, materials, and in my education and will no longer be able to write off my expenses for my business.

As you have read, I am impacted in many ways by AB5 and if this were to become a national law it would potentially destroy 59 million freelance careers.

I implore you to protect independent contractors and continue to allow us to remain independent.

Comment ID: WHD-2020-0007-1536 | 25-Oct-20

Categorized under Family, Flexibility, Independence

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