Travel Advisor Community Makes Final Push for California Labor Bill

by Richard D’Ambrosio

The travel industry is making one final push to ensure that a controversial piece of legislation continues to support independent travel advisors, calling for their members to write to Governor Gavin Newsom, and asking him to sign the bill as it currently stands.

Calls to action were issued by the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) and the California Coalition of Travel Organizations (CCTO) and urge his signature of Assembly Bill 5 (A.B.5) that would clarify the determination of a worker’s status as an independent contractor (IC) or an employee.

Through the advocacy efforts of ASTA, CCTO and others, A.B. 5 as it is before the Governor includes a specific provision that exempts companies from defining travel advisor ICs as full-time employees. Targeting companies like Uber and Lyft, the original legislation swept up other professions, including ICs working as travel agents.

Prior to travel advisors being added to the list of professions exempt from the proposed law, agents may have had to close up shop, as the cost to host agencies and other networks to make them full-time employees could have been cost prohibitive. Additionally, independent advisors told the California legislature that they preferred owning their own businesses.

If the Governor signs A.B. 5 into law as it stands, the so-called Borello criteria and “other specific factors set forth in the measure” will be the standard for whether or not an individual is an employee or an IC for travel agent services provided by persons regulated by the Attorney General under the Seller of Travel law, CCTO said in a statement.

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