California has a new labor law, and it is creating turmoil for musicians in the state.
The labor law, more popularly known as the “Gig Worker Bill,” requires companies to reclassify independent contractors as employees. This is creating a problem in the California music industry because the majority of musicians are hired as independent contractors for short-term projects.
The bill, which was signed into law in September 2019, went into effect on January 1, 2020. The implications are just beginning to hit employers in the music industry who are finding it difficult to hire musicians on a project-by-project basis. Unfortunately, the law, which was likely meant to help the independent contractors gain better benefits as employees has had the opposite effect in the music industry. Many projects have been forced to stop production because of the increased costs. For example, the production of an opera in Northern California was canceled due to the law. There are even reports of employers moving production to other states to avoid the additional costs.