Workers' compensation should evolve with changing economy

The world of work is ever changing. Where manufacturing and large corporations used to rule in California and around the country, entrepreneurs and the gig economy are taking over in increasing numbers. Workers' compensation came into existence as a means for providing protection and care regarding workplace injuries and illnesses.

In a recent California Supreme Court case, delivery drivers won a lawsuit making it harder for them to be classified as independent contractors. Typically, independent contractors do not receive the same benefits as employees. One result of the case was a formula, the ABC test, that determines that workers are employees if their activities are controlled by the company, the activities contribute to the core business of the company and the workers don't run an independent business while carrying out the work.

The state legislature is now looking at the court's decision and deciding on next steps. California's representatives are concerned that workers could get left behind in the gig economy and struggle to survive doing one side job after another. One thought is that while the court's decision only dealt with issues of pay, legislation could include that those who pass the ABC test would be entitled to workers' compensation insurance, paid family leave, sick time and health insurance.

The economy is not a stagnant entity. Its components are constantly evolving and changing with the times. That does not mean that protections for workers are no longer needed. Persons with questions regarding workers' compensation protections in California could benefit from consulting with a lawyer familiar with the current statutes and pending legislation. An attorney can review a situation and inform his or her client regarding the options available.


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