November 19, 2019

Is California Hurting or Helping Freelancers?

“If you drive an Uber, you’re considered a contractor, not an employee, and thus enjoy rather limited protections from labor laws. This is one way that Uber and similar companies have avoided regulations that either needlessly interfere in the free market or provide crucial protections for workers, depending on your perspective.

The California government, needless to say, endorses the latter view, and in a law taking effect next year aims to force companies to treat all their regular workers as proper employees. That raises a serious issue here in the journalism business, where freelance writing is pretty common.

As the Hollywood Reporter explains, writers did get an exemption, but only for their first 35 submissions for each “putative employer.” As a result, if a Californian writes three articles each month for a single publication, that publication has to treat him as a full employee. There’s been a huge outcry from writers who prefer being able to write as contractors to bring in extra money. Some publications have reportedly stopped working with freelance writers from California.”

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