Exceptions to California’s ABC Employment Test

This year, AB 5 made significant changes to the employment landscape in California, requiring that independent contractors in a number of industries pass an “ABC Test” in order to qualify as independent, and those who failed the test must be classified as regular employees. However, the legislature also enacted a new law, AB 2257, that provides substantial exceptions to certain sectors of the labor market across the state. If you or someone you know works as a gig employee or independent contractor, it is important that you understand how this new law may impact your work. To learn more, call or contact an experienced employment law attorney in your area today.

Purpose of AB 2257

Multiple lawsuits have been filed since the enactment of AB 5 by various industries, challenging the legality of the employment ABC test. The new law, AB 2257, addresses the fact that certain areas of employment require workers to be labeled as independent contractors for their benefit and the benefit of their employers. The core of AB 5 remains the same under the new law, with the ABC test still intact, unless there is an exception for business-to-business, referral agencies, and other business relationships. Additional occupations are also listed under AB 2257 as exempt from the California employment ABC test to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or full-time employee.

Exceptions to the ABC Test

There are many industries and areas of work exempted under AB 2257 that no longer require the ABC test and allow employers to classify their workers as independent contractors. Some of the most significant for California workers include the following:

Business-to-Business Workers

AB 2257 provides an exception to the ABC test for workers involved in bona fide business-to-business contracting relationships where the contractor is a business entity contracting to provide services to another business entity. This exception also includes public agencies or quasi-public corporations that engage in business-to-business dealings, as well.

Entertainment and Music Industry

There are also many exceptions to the ABC test in the entertainment and music industry, which includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Recording artists
  • Lyricists
  • Songwriters
  • Proofers
  • Composers
  • Artist managers
  • Record producers and directors
  • Musical engineers
  • Vocalists, and more.

However, television and film production crews are not exempt from the ABC test, nor are musicians and vocalists who do not receive royalties for their work.

Professional Services

A number of professional services are also exempt under the new law, including photographers, photojournalists, freelance writers, editors, and newspaper cartoonists who have more than 35 submissions in a year, which now allows these workers to be classified as independent contractors so long as they work under a written contract that specifies rate of pay and time of payment. Translators, copy editors, and illustrators are also now included so long as they also have a written contract by their employer.

Talk to an Attorney Today

Do you have questions about whether your job requires the ABC test in California or if your industry is exempt? Call the office or contact an experienced California employment law attorney today to review your case and provide sound legal advice about your claims.