The Bill That Killed Freelance

A new California law is supposed to help millions of freelancers by dictating that they be hired as employees.

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“It makes sure that the 1 million independent contractors in California get the wages and benefits that they deserve,” says the law’s author, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez.

But freelancers like musician Ari Herstand tell John Stossel, “You’re thinking you’re helping us, but you’re not … this could single handedly crash the California music economy.”

He points out that he’ll now have to put every musician he hires “on payroll, W2 him, get workers’ comp insurance, unemployment insurance … pay payroll taxes. I also have to now hire a payroll company.”

Musicians aren’t the only ones hurt.

The law targeted rideshare companies like Uber. Politicians claimed that the companies abuse drivers. But now many drivers object to the law, saying that they like being independent.

At first, the media were also big supporters of the law.

“Gig workers’ win,” wrote Vox.

But once the law passed, “Vox Media … cut hundreds of freelance jobs,” reported CNBC.

Assemblywoman Gonzalez was unapologetic. “These aren’t jobs,” she sneered.

Herstand’s answer: “You’re preventing us from doing what we want to do.”