Legislative Updates on SB 1343 and AB 5

ACSO has been tracking two pieces of legislation that could have a big impact on orchestras and other classical music organizations in California. The latest developments are outlined below.

SB 1343 - Employers: Sexual Harassment Training Requirements
On August 30, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill (SB) 778, extending California employers’ obligation to provide employees with sexual harassment training from January 1, 2020 to January 1, 2021. This means your organization now has an additional twelve months to comply with the recently legislated sexual harassment training requirements laid out in SB 1343. Click here for more information on the extension, courtesy of the National Law Review. Click here to learn more about the original legislation and the training requirements. Please note that SB 1343 was passed into law a year ago and SB 778 extends the timeframe in which the training must be carried out.   

AB 5 - Worker Status: Employees and Independent Contractors


AB 5 codifies the 2018 California Supreme Court “Dynamex” decision that restricts when employers can classify workers as independent contractors and deny them benefits like overtime, sick leave, and minimum wage.
AB 5 would add the following to California labor code:
(a) (1) For purposes of the provisions of this code and the Unemployment Insurance Code, and for the wage orders of the Industrial Welfare Commission, a person providing labor or services for remuneration shall be considered an employee rather than an independent contractor unless the hiring entity demonstrates that all of the following conditions are satisfied:
(A) The person is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact.
(B) The person performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business.
(C) The person is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed.”
For the arts industry, item (B) is the most problematic as many artists are independent contractors providing services to arts organizations. Due to direct lobbying efforts by California Arts Advocates and its lobbyist, “fine artists” were included in the professional services exemptions. They continue to build the argument for exemptions for performing artists as well as teaching artists.
California Arts Advocates does not believe the bill’s authors intended to create undue hardships for artists or the creative economy and they will continue to illustrate, even as the bill is signed into law, how this negatively impacts our industry. As reported in the New York Times on September 9, “A.B. 5 is going to pass,” said State Senator Scott Wiener of San Francisco, Uber and Lyft’s hometown, who supports the bill. “But I’m confident this issue will be active in the Legislature for years to come.” 
Please note AB 5 codifies the California Supreme Court Dynamex decision and unless an exemption is listed, all other employers must comply with the existing law.
Email [email protected] if you currently identify as a self employed, contract worker but feel that under this new law you would no longer fit into this criteria. Send any information on why it is of benefit to you to remain an independent contractor or why this could threaten your livelihood. This helps California Arts Advocates build the case on why artists, creative, and culture workers should be exempt from this decision.
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