California AB-5 and the Importance of Professional Organizations
Many news about the infamous California AB-5—the independent contractor redefinition bill—have been circulating across the board. The Translation and Interpreting industry has been deeply affected by this new law. In a nutshell, AB-5 forces agencies to hire employees rather than contracting independent language professionals. Due to this, many California colleagues have been out of work for many months, thus adding more hardships to the economic impact COVID-19 pandemic has created. For those who don't live in California, it's unclear how AB-15 could affect translators and interpreters, and the industry on the whole. One thing is for sure: if proven successful in California, AB-5 could be replicated in other states, which could be the end of many small businesses, including sole proprietorships and individually incorporated companies (i.e, LLC, S Corp, C Corp). However, there may be some hope thanks to T&I professional organizations.
The extraordinary efforts made by colleagues, especifically reaching out to the author of AB-5, Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, is paying off. The Association of Independent Judicial Interpreters of California (AIJIC) has been in constant communication with Lorena's office, which has resulted in new language to be included in AB-2257. If approved, this exemption to AB-5 would allow independent contractors to continue operating as such when hired by agencies. California Legislature's Senate Committee on Labor, Public Employment and Retirement has provided an analysis of AB-2257 as it relates to freelance translators and interpreters. This huge stride could have never been possible without the commitment and determination of our esteemed California colleagues.
Being a member of a professional organization has many perks; many of which are often overlooked by language professionals. NITA has been always committed to its members while advocating for good working conditions, fair compensation, and language access fairness. This is just a glimpse of the importance of professional organizations such as NITA. We all should consider becoming a member!