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Freelancers, rejoice! AB5 modified for the better

(BUSINESS NEWS) For freelancers across the state, Assembly Bill No. 5 meant job insecurity and mass unemployment. These latest changes to AB5 may put gig workers back on the clock.

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Freelancers working on laptop in home office.

When Assembly Bill No. 5 rolled out in January, the ramifications of such a far-reaching bill weren’t yet fully understood. Neither the governing body that signed it into action — nor the gig workers that it directly (and indirectly) affected — could fully comprehend what might occur after its inception. Sure, there was ample uncertainty as to how it would affect certain industries, but there was also a significant amount of optimism, too. Many people saw it as their salvation, an opportunity to finally get a little bit of stability in their lives. Others, though, were certain it would spell out their demise, all but terminating their tenure as freelancers.

AB5 was admittedly a fairly idealistic bill, and its premise was fairly straightforward: If you happened to be a gig worker (or freelancer) in the state of California, then surprise! According to this new bill, you were suddenly an employee. And if that wasn’t exciting enough, this new title also came with a host of awesome new benefits associated with such a role. What kind of benefits were made available to these former gig workers? Well, for example, they finally were entitled to literal employee benefits. Like health insurance benefits, for starters. Paid time off. Overtime. A guaranteed minimum wage. On paper, it sounded pretty awesome. Who wouldn’t want all of these amazing perks?

Of course, AB5 didn’t consider these things to be “perks.” Instead, they just wanted workers in the Golden State to get what they felt was legally owed to them. The minds behind AB5 had a simple goal. They felt as though many of California’s workers were grossly misclassified, and they wanted to remedy that. And, based on the sheer number of protests across the state from Uber and Lyft workers, it seemed as though most people were inclined to agree with them. The problem, according to the lawmakers, was that many gig workers lacked basic protections that many hourly employees possessed. They just wanted what their shift-working peers had. Who could blame them?

While those who drafted AB5 may have sincerely believed they were doing the right thing, it also meant that suddenly thousands of gig workers in California were suddenly without a job. Why would someone want to hire a Californian when the risk of liability was so high? Take, for instance, freelance writers. According to the text of AB5, a freelancer could write a mere thirty-five articles before they were officially classified as an employee. Who would want to deal with that, and manually count every single article that landed on their desk, when they could simply snatch up a freelancer (with no such restrictions) from a different state?

Fortunately, the grumbling of these scores of disgruntled freelancers was finally heard. It was a long and arduous process, one where the outcome was hazy and uncertain at times. But this past week, Governor Gavin Newsome finally decided that enough was enough, and he made the necessary modifications to AB5. After much anticipation and vocal displeasure from California gig workers, freelancers (including writers, artists, musicians, and translators) are finally, well, free once more to do their own thing.

There’s a lesson to be learned here. Many freelancers chose this role because they wanted the personal autonomy to be able to do what they wanted, without massive overreach dictating the minutiae of their day-to-day lives. While there certainly were many gig workers who felt as though they were being taken advantage of (and there is strong evidence that this is true, particularly in the rideshare sector), many of us simply wanted to go back to how things were before AB5 tried to upend our lives.

When a law that was meant to help Californian workers actually winds up harming them, then it’s a fairly clear sign that there were serious flaws within it. Fortunately, California made the right call here. While there may be other modifications to it in the future, at least freelancers finally have been given back the liberty to work how they choose — without worrying about losing their employment because they were, ironically, made into employees.

Karyl is a Southern transplant, now living on the Central Coast with her husband. She's proud to belong to two very handsome cats, both of which have made it very clear as to where she ranks on the social hierarchy. When she's not working as an optician, you can either find her chipping away at her next science-fiction novel or training for an upcoming race. She holds an AAT in Psychology, which is just a fancy way of saying that she likes poking around inside people's brains. She's very socially awkward and has no idea how to describe herself, which is why this bio is just as dorky and weird as she is.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. u-os.org

    September 19, 2020 at 10:15 am

    wonderful post, very informative. I ponder why the other experts of this sector do not realize this.
    You must continue your writing. I am sure, you’ve a huge readers’ base already!

  2. Pingback: What freelancers need to know about new tax form 1099-NEC

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Business News

How to stop reeking of desperation when you job hunt

(CAREER) Hunting for a job can come with infinite pressures and rejection, sometimes you just want it to be over – here’s how to avoid reeking of desperation.

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desperation when job hunting

Whether you were one of the millions of people who quit their job this year in The Great Resignation or you’ve been unemployed since the pandemic began, when you’re looking for work, it can feel hopeless after a while. Just like that student in class who raises their hand at every question, you don’t want to come across as desperate, “pick me, pick me!” Money might be tight. You want to be eager, but you don’t want to be so anxious that you sabotage your job search.

Right now, job seekers have the upper hand, but you want to show off your skills and professionalism, not your neediness.

5 ways you come across as overly desperate for a job:

  1. Applying for multiple positions at the same company. Employers want you to be a fit for a particular job. Instead, tell the hiring manager that you’re open to other positions that might be a good fit.
  2. Checking in with the hiring manager too much. Follow up after an interview, but don’t keep checking in. If they have news, they’ll share it.
  3. Talking about how much you need a job. Don’t bring up your personal issues in an interview. Stay focused on why you are the best person for the job.
  4. Being willing to accept any offer. You should negotiate and go to bat for yourself when you get an offer. Explain why you’re worth more money because you probably are.
  5. Forgetting to ask questions about the bigger picture. You don’t want to be so eager to impress that you don’t think about the company culture and perks. You might be desperate, but getting into a job that doesn’t fit your needs and personality won’t help your situation.

Desperation can make you appear to be in the clearance bin at the store. Sure, you may get something for a great price, but will you actually be able to fully use it when you get it home? As a job seeker, you want to be the premium brand on the shelf. Maybe not every buyer (employer) can appreciate you or even afford you, but when the right one comes along, it’s a good fit.

Employers want team members who will be assets for their company. Your job search needs to start with a strong resume and impressive cover letter. Instead of going for quantity, choose job openings for quality, where you can bring something to the table for the company.

Ask a Manager’s Alison Green has some great resources for getting a job, including a free guide to preparing for interviews. Practice interviewing. Make a great first impression. Know that there is a job out there for you.

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Business News

Study: Employers are inadvertently punishing women that suffer from Endo

(BUSINESS NEWS) A new study reveals the widespread impact of Endo (Endometriosis) in the workforce as well as the entire economy. Change must be made. Quickly.

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endo endometriosis pain

Women still face many barriers in their career. It’s been more than half a century since federal law addressed gender discrimination in the workplace, but it still occurs. Whether it’s lack of access to training, an inability to speak up, or pay inequality, it’s all wrong. Sadly, a new study identifies another potential barrier to a woman’s career path – endometriosis.

What is endometriosis?

The Office on Women’s Health (OWH) reports that “endometriosis happens when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (womb) grows outside the uterus.”

Endo, as its often called, causes varying levels of pain, often chronic pain in the lower back and pelvis. The tissue outside the uterus grows in areas where it can cause even more problems by blocking fallopian tubes and forming scar tissue. There is no cure, but there are some treatment options that can work.

Endo affects about 11% of American women who are ages 15 to 44. Despite the fact that the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology describes endometriosis as “nothing short of a public health emergency,” data suggests that about 60% of endo cases go undiagnosed.

I repeat: 60% of endo cases go undiagnosed.

More than 6 million American women are living with the symptoms of endo without knowing the cause or having the capability to manage their symptoms.

Endometriosis was once considered a career woman’s disease, but a two-year-long study from Finland shows that the disease shapes a woman’s career, not the other way around.

Women with endo take 10 or more sick days than women without endo. They also use more disability days. Other studies support these findings. A 2011 analysis reported that women with endo could lose almost 11 hours of work each week because their endo made it difficult to complete tasks. One US study estimated that women with endo experience more sick days each year, up to 20.

These women often have a lower annual salary and slower salary growth.

How can employers address endometriosis in the workplace?

It’s difficult enough to discuss any type of health problem at work, let alone one that relates to menstruation. Employers have a big problem just dealing with short-term illnesses. It’s hard when a key employee is out for one or two weeks from a surgery. Long-term chronic illnesses, especially those that are invisible, are challenging in the workplace.

Most workplace cultures aren’t designed for people with chronic conditions or disabilities.

It’s going to take a major shift in thinking to deal with endometriosis in the workplace.

Endo isn’t painful period cramps. It’s a serious condition without a cure. Employees who are dealing with endo may be battling intense pain or fatigue. Yes, work needs to get done, but when people are living with a chronic condition, they need accommodations.

Endometriosis may be a woman’s disease, but it does impact the entire economy. One study found that endo had a similar economic burden to that of heart disease or diabetes. Most employers would not think twice about a man who needed extra time to deal with coronary disease, but women often don’t get that consideration, regardless of the condition.

Women with endo aren’t incapable or shirking their duties. They may just need to deal with their pain to stay focused at work. Let’s drop the stigma and help accommodate women who deal with endo.

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Business News

Everyone should have an interview escape plan

(BUSINESS NEWS) A job interview should be a place to ask about qualifications but sometimes things can go south – here’s how to escape when they do.

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interview from hell

“So, why did you move from Utah to Austin?” the interviewer asked over the phone.

The question felt a little out of place in the job interview, but I gave my standard answer about wanting a fresh scene. I’d just graduated college and was looking to break into the Austin market. But the interviewer wasn’t done.

“But why Austin?” he insisted, “There can’t be that many Mormons here.”

My stomach curled. This was a job interview – I’d expected to discuss my qualifications for the position and express my interest in the company. Instead, I began to answer more and more invasive questions about my personal life and religion. The whole ordeal left me very uncomfortable, but because I was young and desperate, I put up with it. In fact, I even went back for a second interview!

At the time, I thought I had to put up with that sort of treatment. Only recently have I realized that the interview was extremely unprofessional and it wasn’t something I should have felt obligated to endure.

And I’m not the only one with a bad interview story. Slate ran an article sharing others’ terrible experiences, which ranged from having their purse inspected to being trapped in a 45 minute presentation! No doubt, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mistreatment by potential employers.

So, why do we put up with it?

Well, sometimes people just don’t know better. Maybe, like I was, they’re young or inexperienced. In these cases, these sorts of situations seem like they could just be the norm. There’s also the obvious power dynamic: you might need a job, but the potential employers probably don’t need you.

While there might be times you have to grit your teeth and bear it, it’s also worth remembering that a bad interview scenario often means bad working conditions later on down the line. After all, if your employers don’t respect you during the interview stage, it’s likely the disrespect will continue when you’re hired.

Once you’ve identified an interview is bad news, though, how do you walk out? Politely. As tempting as it is to make a scene, you probably don’t want to go burning bridges. Instead, excuse yourself by thanking your interviewers, wishing them well and asserting that you have realized the business wouldn’t be a good fit.

Your time, as well as your comfort, are important! If your gut is telling you something is wrong, it probably is. It isn’t easy, but if a job interview is crossing the line, you’re well within your rights to leave. Better to cut your losses early.

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