California just took a major step in rewriting the rules of the gig economy.
The state Assembly passed a bill Wednesday that would make it harder for companies to label workers as independent contractors instead of employees, a common practice that has allowed businesses to skirt state and federal labor laws. The bill will now go to the state Senate.
Hundreds of thousands of independent contractors in California, ranging from Uber and Amazon drivers to manicurists and exotic dancers, would likely become employees under the bill.
That small status change is huge. These workers would suddenly get labor protections and benefits that all employees get, such as unemployment insurance, health care subsidies, paid parental leave, overtime pay, workers’ compensation, and a guaranteed $12 minimum hourly wage. It also means companies are fuming about the added cost.