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State Lawmakers Vote To Ease Employment Rules For CA Freelancers

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Freelance writers, musicians and translators may be getting exemptions from California’s strict new employment rules under a bill passed Monday night by the state legislature that now awaits Governor Gavin Newsom’s signature.

The move comes after pushback from California freelancers who said AB 5 — a law that went into effect at the start of 2020 — drove their clients to cut ties with them and instead hire out-of-state freelancers who weren’t as much of a legal liability.

Here are some of the changes outlined in the new bill:

  • It would strike down the 35-submission cap for freelance writers and photographers. Under current rules, any California-based freelancer who contributes more than 35 submissions to an outlet per year must be reclassified as an employee.

  • It would add translators, appraisers and registered foresters to the “professional services” exemption. This exemption currently covers graphic designers, travel agents and marketers, among others.

  • It would allow workers in much of the music industry to continue working as freelancers. The list of exemptions includes recording artists, songwriters, producers, promoters and many others.