The Orange County Register reports that more self-employed workers and business owners are urging California lawmakers to expand a bill, allowing more gig workers to be exempted from employee status.
Those seeking an expansion of the legislation want a variety of other workers exempted, including architects, engineers, lawyers, real estate agents, therapists, accountants, barbers, hair stylists and others who have advanced degrees, are licensed by the state or simply want to remain independent contractors.
California is estimated to have nearly 2 million residents who choose to work as independent contractors, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and that doesn’t count people who supplement their income through online work.
It’s all about flexibility, according to Mariana Bellis, who works as a mobile hair stylist through an app-based company called Glamsquad. The service allows customers to request an on-site appointment wherever they are.
“When I worked in a salon environment it was extremely restrictive,” said Bellis, 50, who lives in Los Angeles. “I had to sit there from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. whether I had a client or not – you just hoped for the best.”
That changed when she began work as an independent contractor with Glamsquad.
“I’ve been doing this for about two years and I enjoy it a lot more,” she said. “I can work one day and then take the next couple days off if I want and I’m not tied to specific clients.”
Mohamma Azam, an independent driver for California Yellow Cab, feels the same way.
“I can choose what hours I want to work,” the 47-year-old Anaheim resident said. “My wife doesn’t know how to drive, so I have to take my son to school and pick him up later in the day to take him home. I like not having a boss telling me what to do and what time I have to be at work.”
The ABC rules take away the flexibility independent contractors value so highly, and many say their income will take a hit. A 2017 Department of Labor survey found 79.1 percent of independent contractors preferred their current situation, while only 8.8 percent said they would rather have a traditional work arrangement.