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Vox Media Fires Hundreds of Freelance Writers, Blaming California’s ‘Gig Economy’ Law

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Vox Media Fires Hundreds of Freelance Writers, Blaming California’s ‘Gig Economy’ Law (msn.com)

Posted by EditorDavid on Saturday December 21, 2019 @04:34PM from the unintended-consequences dept.

Since 2003 Vox Media has been covering California’s sports on its

SB Nation

blogs largely with independent contractors. But they’re making big changes to comply with a new California law targetting companies in the gig economy, according to the

Los Angeles Times: Vox Media will end contracts with about 200 people, including non-California freelancers who cover teams based in the state, and replace them with 20 new part-time and full-time staffers, according to a source familiar with the decision… In a memo to 2,000 SB Nation contractors scattered across the country — most of whom will not be affected by the changes — Ness explained that, under the law, California freelance writers can maintain their status as independent contractors only if they submit no more than 35 pieces per year. Given the pace of sports blogging, many of the writers producing work for SB Nation’s California blogs would easily hit that benchmark, the source said. Ness wrote in the memo that California contractors were encouraged to apply for full-time or part-time positions. For those who do not snag a job but want to keep contributing, Ness wrote that “they need to understand they will not be paid for future contributions.”

The changes will also affect Curbed and Eater, two other Vox Media sites that employ a handful of freelancers in the state…

AB 5 was hailed as a victory by many Uber, Lyft and DoorDash workers who have protested slashed wages and arbitrary terminations, but it has brought fear for some who worry the law means they will have less flexibility in the hours they can work and restrict their ability to work for multiple platforms… Freelancers also have voiced fears that AB 5 will discourage employers from hiring Californians to avoid additional paperwork and legal liabilities that come with the law, and smaller newspapers and websites may not have the resources to convert freelancers to staff members.

If the human brain were so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple we couldn’t.

Working…

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