Employees or Contractors? Gig Economy Workers’ Status Headlines Newsom’s First Legislative Session

by John P. Kamin (April 26, 2019)

The first few months of the 2019 legislative session opened with bills that would expand the definition of “employees” to include Uber and Lyft drivers, attempt to nullify utilization review, make nonindustrial apportionment more difficult to obtain, and investigate the large number of Independent Medical Review disputes.

Each and every spring, Californians can count on warmer weather, the return of baseball, and the revival of long-simmering political fights in Sacramento at the start of the legislative session. This year, our lawmakers have not disappointed us, so grab your popcorn because it’s going to be a long legislative session in the state capital.

Assembly Bill 5 will be the bill that will undoubtedly get the most attention because it’s a question that everyone can relate to – should your Uber or Lyft driver, or Postmates delivery person be an employee or an independent contractor? In other words, should the state force these massive “gig economy” businesses to deem their labor force to be “employees,” which would require workers’ compensation coverage and other benefits traditionally afforded to employees?