California’s AB5 Bill “Supporting” Freelance Photographers Gets Revised


A bill intended to help freelance photographers met with some pretty tough opposition from the same group it sought to protect.

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels.

Namely, the revision refers to the bill’s infamous clause limiting freelancers to 35 submissions per client/employer per year while working as a freelancer. Much of the bill has drawn the ire of the freelancer community that sees its so-called “protections” as nothing more than a way to severely limit their ability to make a living.

Among other things, the bill stipulates a an “ABC” test that employers can use to determine the status of an employee. Another goal of the bill was to make sure that people who work as regular employees of a company – but are not classified as such due to various loopholes – would be protected as regular employees in terms of rights and wages.

It wasn’t that the bill forbade employers from commissioning more than 35 works from an artist or creator per year. It did say that, beyond 35, the person’s employee classification, according to this ABC system, would have to be determined. Theoretically, a client could face actually having to hire the freelancer in question in some capacity similar to that of a regular employee.

As DPReview reports, the revised bill removes the ABC test requirement for freelancers submitting more than 35 pieces per year and instead implements the “Borello test.”

“1: The individual provides services under a contract that specifies their rate of pay, a defined time by which they must receive their payment, and the individual's intellectual property rights to the work.
2: The individual does not primarily provide services at the hiring entity's business location.
3: The hiring entity does not hire the individual to provide services that would directly replace an existing employee who does the same work at the same volume, or prevent the individual from providing services to more than one hiring entity.”

The legislation further clarifies AB 2257:

“…outlines similar criteria for a still photographer, photojournalist, videographer, or photo editor that provide services under a contract. The bill additionally specifies that a still photographer, photojournalist, videographer, or photo editor providing services to a digital content aggregator is also governed by the Borello test.”

What do you think of California’s proposed freelancer bill? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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About Author

Kehl is our staff photography news writer since 2017 and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here and follow him on Insta.

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