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California's contractor economy is changing

California's economy has always been a large and complex entity, and it supports millions of people in hundreds of industries. One level of the economy, often called the "gig economy," is a big part of how people get into and move up through the many jobs that are available.

But freelance and temporary employment are more than they once were. These arrangements used to cover work that would wrap up quickly or employees who needed help entering the job market, but state officials in Sacramento have become concerned employers were using gigs to keep employees from claiming benefits.

A new law, Assembly Bill 5, is tightening restrictions on these practices. Most of the exemptions in this bill affect the construction industry. Truckers, architects and engineers working in construction may be able to retain their contractor status.

It's difficult to be more specific about who can and cannot be employed as a contractor, but a preexisting test called the "ABC test" can be useful. The three issues are a worker's separation from control of the hiring business, the work's difference from the business' normal operations and the worker's habitual connection to that work.

The state government's new attitude towards contractors may still cause work disputes or put businesses in hot water with regulatory agencies. Any company that needs to defend its interests in lawsuits may need the services of an attorney.

Legal representation in labor disputes or negotiations can be very useful. It may also increase the chances of a positive result during any dealings in the California civil legal system.

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