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Gig employees could soon be eligible for workers' compensation

There is a growing number of Californians who are not typical employees and are considered contractors. Increasingly, they are being included in the "gig" economy and becoming injured on the job has opened a host of concerns as to whether they should be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. This issue and other work-related rights has been debated frequently, especially with the growing popularity of remote jobs, Lyft and other ride share services. Perceived attempts on the part of employers to avoid the cost of having a worker classified as an employee is also a problem.

Now, the state Assembly has passed a law that grants employee rights to many workers who were previously categorized as contractors. For those who have been injured or are working in these types of jobs and are concerned as to what will happen if they are injured, understanding the law and having legal assistance is critical. The bill is heading for the state senate. It will define if a worker is an independent contractor or an employee. If the new law passes, only workers who are not under direct control or supervision of an employer in the general course of business will be an independent contractor. The goal is to shield workers from various abuses and grant them benefits they otherwise would not have.

Some industries are worried as to how this will impact their operations as hiring independent contractors is beneficial to them in terms of flexibility and helps workers. Lyft is one company that is against the new law saying that its drivers would then need to be employed directly by the company and it would deprive them of the freedom to make their own hours at any location they choose. Some industries are seeking exemptions. Since there are so many companies in California that use independent contractors and boost the gig economy, this new law is being closely watched by everyone involved.

Being injured while performing any job can have cause long-term problems to a person and his or her family. Medical expenses, lost income and more are just some of the factors that must be considered. When a person is an employee of a business, there is an expectation that workers' compensation benefits will be available. If it is person who is an independent contractor, this may not be the case. With the potential for the new law changing that classification, it is important that workers understand its effect on them now and in the future. A law firm that helps people with their workers' compensation claims can give an explanation, provide advice and legal representation.

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