New California “gig work” regulations impacting orchestras, performing arts groups

Posted on: January 9, 2020

“At the beginning of the new year, Island City Opera made an announcement,” writes Janos Gereben in Tuesday’s (1/7) San Francisco Classical Voice, “which has immediate reverberations in musical circles, likely to be the first of numerous similar statements: ‘It is with a heavy heart that, due to circumstances beyond our control, we must postpone our current plans for the March 2020 production of Dame Ethel Smyth’s The Wreckers.’ The reason? ‘As of Jan. 1, 2020, the State of California put into effect new regulations … [that] present significant new administrative and financial requirements.’… This is just the beginning of a flood of potential problems, complaints, job losses, and project cancellations—all the result of uncertainty and confusion as the ‘gig work law,’ Assembly Bill 5, signed into law in September, now takes effect. Uber and Lyft drivers, musicians, dancers, singers, artists of all kinds, freelance journalists, etc., under contract now will have to be employed, rather than paid as independent contractors…. Major consequences of changing the status of contractors to employees includes basic labor and employment protections, paid sick days, workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, and sharing tax payments.”