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California’s gig-worker law faces push-back, even from some it’s intended to help – Whittier Daily News



Hector Castellanos was on his way to pick up a passenger for Lyft ride-share service in the Bay Area in 2017 when another car slammed into his Toyota Prius.

He needed shoulder surgery and couldn’t work for eight months after the accident. But since drivers for Lyft and many other similar services are independent contractors and not employees, Castellanos didn’t have worker’s compensation insurance. With no wages coming in, his daughter had to drop out of college for two semesters to help the family stay afloat.

“My family suffered,” Castellanos said. “We almost lost our house.”

That’s why Castellanos, who is back driving for both Lyft and Uber now, has been rallying for months in support of Assembly Bill 5 — a law that, as of Jan. 1., makes it harder for companies to classify workers as independent contractors. The goal of the bill is to make sure companies aren’t using freelancers to save money by skirting labor laws that guarantee protections such as paid sick days, health care benefits, overtime pay and the ability to unionize.

But AB5 is a far-reaching bill that touches an estimated one million Californians, including many who don’t work for big corporations or resent their circumstances. And in the month since it kicked in, many traditional independent contractors — photographers, musicians, translators and others — have lost work. What’s more, some California companies have looked to out-of-state workers or otherwise shifted gears to avoid running up against AB5.

Such stories have triggered numerous challenges to the bill, with lawsuits, legislation and a ballot initiative pending that would exempt categories of workers or repeal the legislation entirely. Even AB5’s author, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, has introduced place-holder legislation, which she told the Register will help sole proprietors and others navigate the new landscape.

In the meantime, confusion reigns. Many freelancers say they don’t understand how the bill affects them, or how it touches their industries, and they’re getting conflicting advice about how to navigate the new law.

Temecula-based band leader Mickie Arnett has been meeting recently with fellow musicians who feel their livelihoods — and the local music scene — are threatened by AB5. Arnett estimates he’s spent more than $2,000 on attorneys, business permits and other costs. He’s formed a limited partnership with his band mates to ensure he’s complying with the law when he pays them after gigs. He’s also told several musicians not to expect bookings this year and, to help cover new costs, he’s upped his band’s rate.

Those changes are spreading to other business owners.

Andy Doty, who regularly books Arnett’s band at his Old Town Blues Club in Temecula, said he’s debating whether to increase drink prices or add a cover charge so he can afford to offer live music. Both options, he knows, could mean a “death knell” for his business.

Court decision triggers law

A 2018 California Supreme Court decision launched AB5.

Two workers sued Dynamex courier service after the company opted to shave an estimated 30% from its labor costs by converting its entire staff into independent contractors. Dynamex lost the case. And in its ruling, the state Supreme Court bypassed a little-known measure called the “Borello test,” which California employers have been supposed to pass for decades to legally classify workers as independent contractors. Instead, the court established a much stricter “ABC test.”

To qualify as freelancers, the ABC test says California workers now must: A) Be “free from control” of whoever hired them while they’re doing the gig, B) Be doing something different from the work typically done by the person or company who hired them, and C) Be doing a gig that’s in line with the type of work the person typically does.

It’s the “B” in the ABC test that’s the kicker for most freelancers. If a band leader pays a musician or a language firm pays an interpreter or a newspaper pays a freelance writer, those jobs are within the employers’ normal scope of work, so they likely would not pass the ABC test.

Gonzalez, a former labor leader, wrote AB5 to codify that stricter test for freelance workers into law. It took effect Jan. 1, and Gov. Gavin Newsom included $20 million for AB5 enforcement in his proposed 2020-21 budget.

A dozen other states already have similar policies on their books, Gonzalez noted. But none are as strict as California’s law.

Companies in breach of AB5 face fines of $5,000 to $25,000 per violation. And they can be forced to cover payroll taxes, overtime pay and other costs retroactively if workers had been properly classified as employees.

So far, there are no reports of the state punishing employers for violating AB5.

That’s true even as companies such as Uber, Lyft and Postmates, among others, thumb their noses at AB5. Many are continuing to list workers as independent contractors as they file a lawsuit and propose a ballot initiative to challenge the bill.

Meanwhile, Glendale attorney Samuel Dordulian said his firm has been getting so many calls each week from companies and workers with questions about AB5 that he can’t keep up. Most of the time, he said, they want to know if there’s a way for them to get around the ABC test. Almost always, he added, the answer is no.

More exemptions needed?

Some two dozen categories of workers — ranging from doctors and lawyers, to manicurists, real estate agents and commercial fishermen — were granted at least partial exemptions from AB5. Those workers can use the much-looser Borello test to qualify as independent contractors.

Employment attorney Laura Heckathorn of Los Angeles said it will be up to the state and the courts over the coming years to further define some of the vague exemptions in AB5, such as who qualifies as “fine artists” or what it takes for a gig worker to be his or her own business.

In deciding which categories of workers should be exempt, Gonzalez said her team met with labor groups, studied case law, and looked at industries that had a history of not protecting workers.

Gonzalez said music industry representatives didn’t agree on terms before the bill was signed, so changes might still come for freelancers in that arena. Otherwise, Gonzalez doesn’t expect any other AB5 exemptions for entire categories of workers.

But other industries and legislators disagree, and continue to push for carve-outs.

For example, in January a judge ruled that federal law, not California’s AB5, should apply as protection for some 70,000 independent truck drivers. Freelance journalists and photographers also have asked the court to exempt them from AB5, though a judge shot down that request.

The bill does allow freelance writers and photographers to contribute up to 35 works each year to any one media outlet before the law kicks in. But many freelancers routinely pass that number. And even before AB5 took effect, Vox Media’s digital sports media company SB Nation announced it was dropping some 200 freelancers in California due to the new law.

With newspapers already reeling from years of closures and cuts amid declining revenues, State Sen. Pat Bates, R-Laguna Niguel, introduced one bill that would exempt freelance journalists from AB5. Another would permanently exempt newspaper carriers, who were granted a one-year reprieve under AB5.

“You don’t punish thousands of people because of a bad actor,” she said, referring to Dynamex. “Let’s use a scalpel and not a sledgehammer.”

Bates tried in 2019 to repeal AB5, but her effort failed. Now a group of Republican Assembly members and Senators have introduced a new bill and a constitutional amendment that would repeal AB5 and reinstate the Borello test, though they face a battle in the Democratic-controlled legislature.

Another bill would exempt independently-owned businesses with fewer than 100 employees and less than $15 million in gross revenue over the past three years. And yet another bill would exempt freelance interpreters and translators.

But Bill Glasser, founder of Language World Services in Northern California, hopes AB5 sticks for his industry. He converted his interpreters from freelance to staff a decade ago, a move that he said cost him money but improved his company’s quality. Glasser said his interpreters are screened and trained before they’re sent out to fill language gaps at schools, hospitals and other care facilities.

“I don’t think that should be left up to some independent contractor that was found on Craigslist last week,” he said.

While the quality of workers who adapt to AB5 will likely be solid, Temecula club owner Doty worries about the bill’s unintended consequences.

“I’d really hate to see the local music scene deteriorate, evaporate or even lessen as a result of this bill.”

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Postmates the latest gig company to add Prop. 22 fees




Postmates is the latest gig company to slap customers with fees to pay for Proposition 22, the measure that keeps gig workers as independent contractors.

Gig companies including Postmates, Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Instacart ponied up $220 million to push Prop. 22, which allows them to circumvent a California law that could turn their workers into employees. Prop. 22, which voters passed by 58% to 42% in November, includes some health care benefits for drivers and couriers who put in enough hours, provides accident insurance, and guarantees 120% of minimum wage plus 30 cents a mile while workers are going to or fulfilling a ride or delivery request.

The gig companies told voters that prices would rise if Prop. 22 did not pass. But all of Prop. 22’s backers except for Instacart have now hiked prices to help pay for Prop. 22’s new promises.

Postmates said its fees vary by market and range from 50 cents to $2.50 throughout the state, “averaging around $2 in the Bay Area.” By placing orders in various cities, The Chronicle could see that Postmates is charging a “CA Driver Benefits” fee of $2 in San Francisco and $2.50 in both San Jose and Oakland.

Postmates’ website explains that the fee helps fund the Prop. 22 benefits. Postmates is now owned by Uber, which runs the new acquisition as a separate service.

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The Sweetest Gig is Hiring Mitzvah Team ‘Kids Write Chocolate Reviews in Hebrew’




Join The Mitzvah Team to Taste World's Best Chocolate and Write Creative Reviews in Hebrew at The Sweetest Gig #thesweetestgig #mitzvahteam #hebrew

Join The Mitzvah Team to Taste World’s Best Chocolate and Write Creative Reviews in Hebrew at The Sweetest Gig #thesweetestgig #mitzvahteam #hebrew

Our High Purpose Kid Love Work Program is a Rewarding Experience Specially Suited for Grateful Professional Working Families that Love Preparing Their Kids to Succeed in Life #thesweetestgig

Our High Purpose Kid Love Work Program is a Rewarding Experience Specially Suited for Grateful Professional Working Families that Love Preparing Their Kids to Succeed in Life #thesweetestgig

The Sweetest Gig Preparing Kids for Life #thesweetestgig #kidslovework #kidsearnperks

The Sweetest Gig Preparing Kids for Life #thesweetestgig #kidslovework #kidsearnperks

The Sweetest Gig is a fun meaningful weekend work program teaching kids skills. Kids are hired to taste the world’s best Chocolate and write creative reviews.

Inspire Your Kids to Join The Mitzvah Team…We’re Making Learning Hebrew Fun, and Sweet.”

— Carlos Cymerman, Fun Advocate+Founder, The Sweetest Gig

SANTA MONICA, CA, UNITED STATES, January 19, 2021 / — Recruiting for Good (R4G) is a staffing agency helping companies find talented professionals and generating proceeds to fund The Sweetest Gig (preparing kids for life).

On The Sweetest Gig, Middle School kids are hired to taste The World’s Best Chocolate, write creative reviews, and earn fun perks. Kids who join The Mitzvah Team write reviews in Hebrew.

Kids that complete 3 successful reviews between February and April, 2021; earn mom gift (a box of fine chocolate, home delivered for Mother’s Day).

According to Recruiting for Good and The Sweetest Gig, Founder, Carlos Cymerman, “The Sweetest Gig is a mitzvah. We’re preparing kids for life by teaching that anything meaningful, rewarding, and worthwhile; takes time and effort.”

How Parents Help Their Kids Land The Gig

The Sweetest Gig is a high purpose work program for grateful working professional families that make a difference in LA.

One parent needs to be fluent in English; email Sara(at)TheSweetestGig(dot)com to make an appointment and speak with Carlos, the Founder.

Kids attend Middle School in LA and learned Hebrew in the US (Hebrew School or Jewish Day School).

Kids that desire to earn Mother’s Day gift; need to land gig by February 9th, 2021 (hiring just 25 kids).

Carlos Cymerman, adds, “Parents contact me today to help your kids land The Gig….We’re making learning Hebrew; fun, and sweet.”


Before launching staffing agency, Recruiting for Good, Founder, Carlos Cymerman worked as a teacher for 10 years during and after college. And Recruiting for Good has been sponsoring creative writing contests for the last 10 years (for adults and kids). In 2014, he created and sponsored a creative writing program at Olympic High School in Santa Monica.

The Sweetest Gig is a rewarding ‘Kid Love Work’ program; especially suited for ‘Grateful Working Professional Families’ that love preparing their kids to succeed in life. Sweet Creative Middle School Kids are hired on weekends to taste The World’s Best Chocolate, write creative reviews, and earn fun perks. The Sweetest Gig is created by Carlos Cymerman, and sponsored by Recruiting for Good. “Kids learn that anything meaningful, rewarding, and worthwhile; takes time, and effort.”

Summer Camp May Not Be Back…The Sweetest Gig Will Be… “Sweet Love Festival.” Fun Creative Summer 2021!

Since 1998, Recruiting for Good has been a purpose driven staffing company. Companies retain our recruiting agency to find talented and value driven professionals who love to use their talent for good in Accounting/Finance, Engineering, Information Technology, Marketing, Operations, and Sales. R4G is on a fun mission; preparing kids for life to succeed thru ‘The Sweetest Gig,’ fun love work program.

Recruiting for Good Created The Goodie Foodie Club whose purpose is to help fund ‘The Sweetest Gig’ so more kids can learn to love work and prepare for life. Participate in our meaningful Referral Reward Program today to Enjoy The Sweetest Rewards (12 Months of Sushi, or 12 Months The Finest Chocolate Delivered to Mom).

Carlos Cymerman
Recruiting for Good
+1 310-720-8324
email us here
Visit us on social media:

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Fugro wins Suedlink Section 2 gig – reNews




Fugro has won a multidisciplinary contract on Germany’s SuedLink renewables powerline, which will transport electricity generated by offshore wind in the north of Germany to the south.

Vossing Engineers awarded Fugro a geotechnical and water consulting contract to support the route planning, permitting and installation of 106 km of underground power cables on Section 2 of Germany’s new Suedlink powerline.

The entire 700 km cable is due to be completed by 2028 and will be the country’s largest energy infrastructure project when completed.

Fugro‘s multidisciplinary consultancy services on the project include site investigation supervision, hydrogeological expertise and environmental support.

Vossing Engineers will then use Fugro’s geo-data acquisition, and ground and environmental risk mitigation advice, to optimise the cable route layout to “reduce costs, accelerate the schedule and ensure the successful implementation” of Section 2.

Vossing project director Wido Schmidt-Heck said: “Vossing’s challenge on Section 2 of the Suedlink project is to combine approximately 150 staff from different companies into one exploration, design and permitting team.

“This consultancy contract with Fugro facilitates that strategic cooperation and we look forward to a successful delivery.”

Fugro project manager Dirk Brinschwitz said: “I am proud to be managing this important energy transition project.

“At Fugro, our knowledge and services are the foundation of the carbon-neutral and safe energy supplies contributing to a safe and liveable world. Our comprehensive consulting package, which allowed Vossing to form a single multidisciplinary team, was a major factor in Fugro winning this contract award.”

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