AB5: What it means for musicians

A message from RMALA:

We have been hearing about concern in the community about potential effects of AB5, the recently passed California legislation that is on track for our Governor’s signature.

AB5 was created in Sacramento to implement a California Supreme Court decision from last year, the Dynamex ruling, in which a unanimous court limited the ability to classify some workers as independent contractors. AB5 was essentially created to carve some exemptions out from the ruling, not to add classifications. So, doctors, plumbers, private tutors and some others are being exempted from the court ruling by AB5.

Uber and Lyft are upset that the legislation has not exempted them from the court ruling. But side musicians have always been properly classified as employees, even though they are sometimes misclassified. Unlike Uber drivers, nothing for us has been changed by AB5.

Here is one article that places the legislation in context.

Many have also wondered whether AB5 will affect those of us who are employed through our personal corporations. SAG-AFTRA has this to say in its California member advisory:

“Many members have heard about a bill in the California legislature, AB5, which is intended to ensure that most workers in California are categorized as employees instead of independent contractors, so that their rights under labor and employment law are protected. Some individuals have asked whether there might be some impact on the ability of our members and others in the entertainment industry to continue the longstanding practice of using loan out companies as a way of ensuring fair tax treatment for performers. We want to reassure our members that AB 5 will have no impact on the use of loan outs by our members. SAG-AFTRA has done exhaustive due diligence on the matter with our own in-house and outside counsel, and in cooperation with a broad coalition of entertainment unions, prominent industry CPAs, entertainment attorneys and legislative staff.”