Florence Ford was terrified of storms and, seeing as how she was born in 1861, none of the weather apps on her phone were working yet. Her mother Ellen provided comfort when the rains came. So naturally, when Florence died at age 10, Ellen felt she still needed to comfort her daughter when it rained.
In Natchez, Mississippi, you can visit one of the oddest graves in the world. Ellen fitted her daughter’s coffin with a small window and built stairs down to the casket. When it poured in Natchez, Ellen would head down to the casket and provide much-needed comfort to Florence’s bones.
Ellen couldn’t quite accept the reality of Florence’s death and tried to create an exception. In her version of death, reading or singing to the corpse still brought comfort to her daughter — or maybe just to herself.
A less creepy version of dueling realities continues to play out in California, as the legislature keeps reviving exceptions from the harshness of the ABC Test it adopted in AB 5.
The state continues to make tweaks. Two recent bills (AB 1506 and AB 1561) adopt these changes:
- Extends the temporary exemption for newspaper publishers and distributors who meet certain criteria;
- Imposes reporting requirements on publishers and distributors to ensure they are complying with the Borello Test, if they’re exempt from the ABC Test;
- Extends the manicurists exemption for three more years (Kudos to the manicurists’ lobby! They nailed it!);
- Extends the construction industry subcontractor exemption for another three years;
- Amends the data aggregator exemption; and
- Modifies the insurance exemption.
This grab bag of edits comes soon after the adoption of AB 2257, last fall, which rewrote AB 5 to change the long list of exemptions.
What’s going on here? The problem is that the ABC Test doesn’t make a lot of sense when you try to apply it across all types of working relationships. That’s why California’s ABC Test statute keeps getting a makeover. After the state legislature codified the ABC Test in September 2019 by passing AB 5, the state has adopted dozens and dozens of exceptions, and as you can see here, the list keeps growing.
Here’s what businesses in California need to remember:
- The ABC Tests is still the default test for determining whether an independent contractor is misclassified and should really be an employee.
- There are loads of exemptions, many of which are difficult to follow and require compliance with a long list of criteria before they will apply. Check the list of exemptions to see if they apply.
- If an exemption applies, it does not mean that independent contractor status is proper. It just means you make the independent contractor vs. employee determination using the Borello balancing test instead of the ABC Test.
- The rules keep changing.
If this monsoon of details makes you uncomfortable, it should. Fortunately, today you learned one more way that a person can find comfort in a storm. Thank you Ellen of Natchez.
© 2021 Todd Lebowitz, posted on WhoIsMyEmployee.com, Exploring Issues of Independent Contractor Misclassification and Joint Employment. All rights reserved.