Following yesterday’s passage of California’s independent contractor bill by a state Senate committee, the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) says that “committee members made clear that a lot of work remains to be done and additional changes will be made before the deadline for the bill to pass the Senate in mid-September.”
Securing an exemption for independent travel advisors from the bill, which would change how independent contractors are defined and, therefore, their employment status, has been ASTA’s number one advocacy priority, a spokesperson for the organization tells Luxury Travel Advisor.
“A huge thank you is due to Betsy Geiser of Uniglobe Travel Center (and a member of the ASTA Board of Directors) for traveling to Sacramento yesterday to represent ASTA and our industry at the hearing,” ASTA says. “We intend to keep fighting.”
The bill, known as Assembly Bill (AB) 5, passed the California Senate committee on a party-line vote July 10. While the committee made some changes to the bill, it did not vote on individual amendments to “carve out” specific industries, such as independent travel advisors, ASTA said. The bill now heads to a vote by the full state Senate in mid-September.
ASTA, the California Coalition of Travel Organizations (CCTO) and travel advisors in California have warned that AB 5 could threaten the current business model of independent travel advisors, with many agencies saying that they would not offer their ICs employment in the event the bill passes unchanged. Most recently, ASTA warned that 41 percent of ICs might leave the industry if the bill passes without a travel advisor exemption.
ASTA is hosting a member webinar on the bill Tuesday, July 16 at 2 p.m. ET. Members can register here.