The New York State Senate is proposing a bill that would amend state labor laws, tightening the definition of independent contractors and full-time employees.
Senate Bill S6699A, sponsored by Robert Jackson, (D, 31st District) would declare someone an employee, and not an independent contractor, unless the individual met all of the following conditions:
1) The individual is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact.
2) The individual performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity's business.
3) The individual is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed.
The Bill is currently in the Senate Rules Committee, and no movement is expected on the proposed legislation until the state legislature reconvenes in January 2020.
In an announcement to members, the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) said: “As expected, it looks like the fight over independent contractor (IC) status is moving to the Empire State.” ASTA said the bill “threatens the independent advisor model in the State,” as it would “would implement the so-called ‘ABC test’ to determine if a worker is an employee or an independent contractor, with no exemptions at the moment,” similar to Assembly Bill 5 in California.
“It is critical that this legislation be amended to protect the independent advisor model that has existed in our industry for decades and provides opportunities for thousands of small business owners,” ASTA said in its member statement.
“We suspect other industries are already at work trying to get exempted, so now is the time to act even though the legislature doesn’t come back into session until January.” As it has in other legislative battles ASTA urged members to send a note to their state Senator through the organization’s grassroots portal.
Travel advisors would not have been able to remain as independent advisors under the original California A.B. 5 proposed legislation. While a wide range of professions were exempted from the proposed law, including doctors, accountants, realtors and financial advisors, travel advisors were not excluded.
Working with a group of like-minded lobbyists and advocates, ASTA conducted an aggressive education campaign with California legislators, including A.B. 5 sponsor Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez, travel advisors were exempted just as the bill went to a full California Senate vote.
ASTA has been warning its members that no matter the outcome of A.B. 5, the California proposal likely would sweep east to other states concerned about misclassified employees.
Senator Jackson has been known to work on behalf of small business owners, so ASTA and its members may have a receptive ear with the Senator. As a member of the New York City Council, he sponsored the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, a controversial proposal in New York that would apply a form of rent control on commercial storefronts.
Jackson, whose district covers a narrow but miles-long stretch of the West Side of Manhattan, claimed rent restrictions on landlords would help slow down the rapid rise in commercial rental rates in the five boroughs, which are putting many small business.