Travel Leaders Group, in partnership with the California Coalition of Travel Organizations and the American Society of Travel Advisors, applauds the recent signing into law of California Assembly Bill 5 that includes clarification on the determination of a travel advisor’s status as an independent contractor or an employee. AB 5 was signed Wednesday, September 18, by California Governor Gavin Newsom.

“Travel Leaders Group viewed the outcome of this legislation as a matter of paramount importance to our company, our travel advisors and the travel industry at large,” said Ninan Chacko, CEO of Travel Leaders Group. “We took a very active role in helping lead the effort, along with others in the travel industry, to advocate for a provision that would preclude a major disruption to California sellers of travel. We stand with CCTO and ASTA in expressing our gratitude to Assembly Member Gonzalez and the California Labor Federation for having reviewed the legislation’s implications for our industry and adding a provision accordingly.

As noted in a statement issued by CCTO: AB 5 will take effect on January 1, 2020. Going forward, and retroactively as well, the Borello criteria and other specific factors set forth in the measure will be utilized for the determination of an individual as an employee or an independent contractor for travel agent services provided by persons regulated by the Attorney General under the Seller of Travel law as well as persons who are sellers of travel and are exempt from registration under that law.

“The outcome of this effort underscores the importance of advocacy for the travel industry which accounts for some $2.5 trillion in economic output annually within the United States alone, according to the U.S. Travel Association,” said J.D. O’Hara, president of Travel Leaders Group. “Travel Leaders Group takes great pride in being an active proponent for our industry and we thank and applaud our many travel advisors who got involved on an individual level in advocating for the exemption to AB 5. We encourage our travel industry peers to participate in those efforts as well, particularly through ASTA, to ensure our collective voices are heard at the local, state and federal level.” 

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