ASTA: Advisors Need to Get Involved to Defeat New York IC Bill

Last week, New York became the second state in recent months to take on how it defines independent contractors (ICs). Senate Bill S6699A has the aim of converting as many ICs into employees in order for them to receive benefits, such as healthcare and retirement. The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) has already launched a grassroots campaign, similar to the one in California, allowing advisors and agency owners to reach out to their State Senator via email or phone, providing a sample message.

In a statement provided to Luxury Travel Advisor, Eben Peck, ASTA’s executive vice president, advocacy, stated: “Right now, we don’t have a firm sense of how serious a threat this is going to be, but If we learned anything from California it’s that we have to get involved as early in the process as possible. Beyond grassroots, we will consider organizing in-person meetings in Albany with ASTA members and retaining a local lobbyist, depending on the severity of the threat.

“We can’t speculate on the chances of getting an exemption and don’t know exactly how the process is going to play out. We did have success in California (a very “blue” state), which we will point do in the course of advocating for an exemption. There is also a consumer protection law in New York, the Truth in Travel Act, that all New York agencies and those selling to New Yorkers have to comply with. As with California’s Seller of Travel law, having something pro-consumer on the books that our members already comply with will, we think, help our case for an exemption.

“In addition to New York, we’ve heard rumblings about Illinois, Oregon and Washington and expect to see legislation introduced there next year, possibly in other states too. How far those proposals advance is another question. Remember, the California bill was spurred by the 2018 Dynamex State Supreme Court decision, which added urgency to getting a law passed. That’s not always going to be the case in other states.”

According to the bill, “an individual providing labor or services for remuneration has the status of an employee rather than an independent contractor unless the hiring entity demonstrates all of the following conditions:

  1. The individual is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact.
  2. The individual performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business.
  3. The individual is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed.”

With legislature out of session until January, the bill is currently in the in the Senate Rules Committee. The next step is adding it to the Senate Floor Calendar. 

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