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Local Business and Labor Issues

California Lawmakers, Business Groups Try For Compromise On Independent Contractor Rules

One of the biggest battles in the California Legislature this year is about when employers can classify workers as independent contractors. A union-backed bill would place into law the limits set last year by the state Supreme Court.

Capital Public Radio’s Ben Adler says a coalition of business groups including the California Chamber of Commerce is offering to support the legislation — but only if it gets some pretty big exemptions…

DYNABIZ-2-CC / Adler: “We’re talking about exemptions for more classes of professionals beyond those like doctors and insurance agents that the two sides have already agreed to ... for workers “who prefer to control their own schedule,” including consultants, travel agents, and truck, taxi and “gig economy” drivers … and for short-term projects and business-to-business contracts. This is widely seen as much more than they’re ever going to get. But at the state Capitol, it’s still considered a significant development.” (0:24)

The business groups argue these changes would provide a more holistic approach that fits the modern workforce. Labor groups and the bill’s author say they are open to amendments that don’t harm the most vulnerable Californians.