We have received many inquiries regarding Bill AB5. Below are the main points clarifying many of the concerns:
AIJIC is asking legislators for interpreters certified by/registered with the Judicial Council of California and translators certified by the American Translators Association to be exempted from the Bill for the following reasons:
1. Many workers in the so called “gig economy” are currently classified as “contractors” and yet they work for the same employer every day. We understand and support the need for AB5 to protect those people, but the work that we do is very different. We provide services for multiple language service companies, and some of the jobs we get are actually from colleagues we know.
2. If we are categorized as employees, we will be taxed on our gross income, not our net income. We would not be able to claim business expenses either. This would be unfair to us and will raise our tax burden considerably.
3. If we get paid as employees, the following mandatory deductions would apply: federal income tax, Social Security and Medicare taxes, state income tax and other local tax withholdings such as city or county taxes, state disability or unemployment insurance. It is however unlikely that the “benefits” of being an “employee” would ever be collectable. For example, if an interpreter has 35 clients and suffers vocal cord damage as a repetitive injury for her voice usage, would a claim by her against those clients prevail? Most likely, each client would argue as their defense that the work that was done for them was minimal and thus could not have resulted in the injury. Unemployment insurance for an interpreter also would not apply if the interpreter gets a new “job” from another company soon after being “laid off.” Agencies would not be required to offer medical insurance.
4. We commonly network with one another. One day, interpreter A might subcontract interpreter E to work with her at a conference for one of her clients. On another day, interpreter E might subcontract interpreter A to translate a document for one of her clients. That would create an unreasonable situation where they would both be employers and employees of one another. If a labor organization wished to unionize them and negotiate a contract, which side of the table would he sit on? A’s or E’s?
If AB5 passes in its present form without amendments and is successfully challenged in court by someone who is unfairly classified as an employee, it would wipe away the protections that the laborers currently misclassified as contractors deserve and need.