California’s divide between the rich and the poor is growing faster and faster, with many middle-class Californians forced to flee to lower-taxed states like Arizona, Nevada, and Texas in order to support their family.
Despite claiming to want to help workers, the Democrat-owned state legislature passed a new law that prevents many workers from being independent contractors, which has created a whole host of unintended effects across dozens of industries.
California Assembly Bill 5, which was passed last year, has not protected those it was supposed to protect — the California worker. Nor has the law helped any of the millions of other Californians who require flexible hours and employment opportunities to earn a living. California lawmakers are making it more difficult to earn a living, essentially creating an environment where people must depend on their government to create wealth.
America was founded as a land of opportunity — a place where individuals are afforded endless opportunities to develop their individualistic skills and talents to contribute to society and achieve wealth as a result of their own merits. AB5 achieves the opposite by stifling innovation and placing many Californians out of work.
Under the new law, employers will now have to prove that contractors they hire are independent business owners. AB5 is burdensome for Californians and is causing increased anxiety by business owners and workers alike over Californians’ job situations.
If a worker does not fit the definition of an independent contractor, most employers cannot afford to hire them as employees in addition to taking on paying for their benefits. Self-employed people are also scared they will lose work because of AB5, which will drive even more businesses out of California.
AB5 affects working moms, people working three jobs to make ends meet, people that need flexible hours due to caregiving needs and family obligations, as well as employers.
Women make up more than half of all college and graduate school graduates, but one major issue of the pay gap is that women cannot afford to stay in the workforce after having children.
Finding independent contractor work has helped many moms stay in the workforce after having children, as well as keep up with the earning potential of their male counterparts. AB5 could significantly hurt the advancements working moms have made in the workforce.
The law is also hurting people it was not supposed to affect, such as freelance writers, nurses, tutors, film crews, and those in film and TV production. A significant number of Californians have jobs and side jobs to make ends meet as well as develop themselves professionally to live their best life in pursuit of their dreams.
Also, people with disabilities or those unable to physically work in traditional environments, can create a work environment under the independent contractor model.
If they don’t legally fit the definition of the AB5 independent contractor, these individuals are at risk of losing their livelihood. AB5 is crippling peoples’ opportunities to increase their income and make their lives better because the law is preventing individuals who have the ability to work side jobs from doing so.
In return, this has a detrimental effect on those working hard to move themselves and their families out of poverty or even out of the middle class.
Unfortunately, this law is causing serious negative implications. Lawmakers in California must act fast because Californians are at risk of losing jobs, earning less income, having less flexibility, facing higher costs of living and are at risk of California’s government running their lives.
Ultimately this furthers more people leaving the state of California for lower cost states as they have been doing for years now. This should not be a partisan issue as both parties must recognize the negative implications for their constituents and the detrimental effect it is having on their opportunity to make a living.
Democrats and Republicans must come together and reject this law and make California a place where people can afford to live, work, and raise a family and live a life of dignity.
Meghan McNulty is an attorney, political commentator, and biomedical engineer based out of Southern California. She is a frequent commentator on national television and radio programs across the country.
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