I have been an independent contractor in California for a number of years with a business. Some of my tasks include graphic design, ad creation and management, search engine optimization, product research, marketing reports, hiring other contractors online. I don't know if I have a true job description, but as you can tell, my responsibilities are amorphous and can change when my boss feels like doing so, or when I feel like taking the lead on a new project.

I signed an independent contracting agreement. I work less than 20hrs a week. I sometimes work from home, but my boss is clear that he wants me in the office as much as possible. We have a word-of-mouth agreement that I should clock 16hrs a week, minimum. My actual schedule is flexible and changes often. Over the years, I've worked with companies, to my boss' knowledge, but work with my boss has been consistent for years.

I'm saying these details, because I have an inkling that soon, this job may not be classified as "independent contracting". It's looking likely that California will pass a bill overhauling the meaning of independent contracting (emphasis added):

The three-point test is simple enough that workers can apply it to themselves. An independent contractor, it says, must be free from a company’s control and direction. The work he or she does can’t be the company’s main business. And the contractor must be performing work that he or she does in an independently established trade. If even one of those statements is untrue, a worker must be classified as an employee, and is entitled to the benefits and protections that that status entails.

The point that may be arguable is #3. Each skill I have could be an established trade that I could offer to another company. Traditionally, someone with a website would hire an independent contractor to do, say graphic design or copyrighting, or whatever. However, I'm doing a set of duties that together aren't classified as an independently established trade. Maybe there are certain tasks I do that invalidate this point.

Am I reading too much into this? I do feel like an employee, given the wide scope of my duties.

  • This question may not be answerable at this time. You can read the text of the bill as well as any of us, but much may depend on how the government and courts decide to interpret and enforce the law (assuming that it does indeed become law). Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 1:12
  • @NateEldredge true. I'm only going off of what's been proposed so far. Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 20:41

1 Answer 1



The intent of the proposed bill is to codify existing case law.

You are an employee now and you will be an employee then.

You are an employee now because a) you are not free from the company's control and direction or b) the work you are doing is the company's main business.

If you read the bill you will find out that c) involves "an independently established trade, occupation, or business" so your business qualifies for this but you need to qualify for all three factors to be an independent contractor.

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