Account
Get our app
Account Sign up Sign in

Hiring a new employee?

Outline the details of your arrangement in an employment contract.

Assembly Bill 5 versus the ABC test

In 2018, a landmark decision by the California Supreme Court set forth an ABC test to be used by employers when classifying workers as independent contractors vs. employees. While ABC tests are used in several states for applying wage and work hour laws, unemployment laws, and labor laws in specific industries, California’s ABC test is only applicable in wage-order claims. 

Meanwhile, AB-5 is meant to be used in a broader sense for California workers. The bill keeps the burden of proof on employers and classifies an independent contractor as a person who meets all of the following criteria:

  • The worker is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work
  • The worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business
  • The worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed for the hiring entity. 

While it has a larger application than the ABC test, AB-5 still has a few limitations. There are built-in exceptions for certain occupations, which are mainly professionals, including lawyers, engineers, accountants, and doctors. 

How will AB-5 impact my business?

Regardless of worker classification, it is always critical to get the terms of your work arrangement in an employment contract or independent contractor agreement, among other useful legal documents for employment and HR

If you currently have contractors who do not meet all of the criteria of the new definition, it is important that you take actions towards complying with the new employment law. You can ask a lawyer about any requirements that apply to your specific situation. 

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.


Ask a lawyer

Our On Call attorneys are here for you.
Characters remaining: 600
Rocket Lawyer On Call® Attorneys

Try Rocket Lawyer FREE for 7 days

Start your Premium Membership now and get legal services you can trust at prices you can afford. You’ll get:

All the legal documents you need—customize, share, print & more

Unlimited electronic signatures with RocketSign®

Ask a lawyer questions or have them review your document

Dispute protection on all your contracts with Document Defense®

30-minute phone call with a lawyer about any new issue

Discounts! Incorporate for FREE + hire a lawyer with up to 40% off*

*Free incorporation for new members only and excludes state fees. Lawyer must be part of our nationwide network to receive discount.