Part 4: 2022 New California Employment Laws – AB 1506 & 1561 to Modify Exceptions for Contractor ABC Test in Select Industries

ABC-testPart four of California’s upcoming list of employment law changes is centered around the ABC test for independent contractors, which will include exception extensions for certain businesses starting in 2022. Through Assembly Bill 1506, such exceptions will stretch through the end of 2024. 

The ABC test is a legal way for employers to prove that a worker should be classified as an independent contractor, and the past version of this test is referred to as the “Borello test.” The law already allows for certain exceptions by way of AB 5; as for AB 1506, it’s set to extend exceptions for newspaper carriers which ended this past year. However, the Borello test is known to have a higher chance of leading to a contractor classification. 

A similar bill, AB 1561, applies such extensions to other industries such as licensed manicurists, and deals with the relationship between construction trucking contractors and subcontractors. These exceptions were also set to expire by the end of 2021 but will now extend to December 31, 2024. 

The potential for an increased reliance on the Borello test for newspaper carrier contractors and manicurists could make it more difficult for these employees to achieve full-time status. Although many contractors would like to stay independent, others are striving for full-time benefits given the market insecurity caused by COVID-19. Independent contractors outside of this industry, in this way, will be protected from lopsided results typical of the Borello test. 

Additionally, as mentioned in a previous blog about AB 1003, independent contractors are included in the bill’s definition of an “employee.” This means that contractors will be entitled to the same rights as full-time staff members concerning cases of intentional wage theft. 

For additional information on Assembly Bill 1506 and what it entails, consider these helpful online resources that are contributing to the discussion:

  • The National Law Review briefly summarizes extensions made to AB 1561, including ending dates for exceptions given to licensed manicurists and construction subcontractors. Rather than ending this year as previously planned, the extensions will continue through the end of 2024.
  • Mercury News explains how the passing of AB 1506 could serve to sustain the future of California newspapers. The bill will prevent certain cost increases for newspapers by extending newspaper carrier exemptions from AB 5. 
  • The official California Legislative Information site contains the precise legal language for AB 1506 as it pertains to employees and contractors in the newspaper distribution industry. 


Experienced Employment Law Attorney, Mediator, Arbitrator, Investigator, Legal and Media Commentator 

Twice-named a U.S. News Best Lawyer in America for employment and labor law, Angela Reddock-Wright is an employment and labor law attorney, mediator, arbitrator, and certified workplace and Title IX investigator (AWI-CH) in Los Angeles, CA. Known as the “Workplace Guru,” Angela is an influencer and leading authority on employment, workplace/HR, Title IX, hazing, and bullying issues. Furthermore, she’s been named a “Top California Employment Lawyer” by the Daily Journal and one of Los Angeles’ “Most Influential Minority and Women Attorneys” by the Los Angeles Business Journal.

Angela is a regular legal and media commentator and analyst and has appeared on such media outlets as Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, Law and Crime with Brian Ross, Court TV, CNN, NewsNation, ABC News, CBS News, Fox 11 News, KTLA-5, the Black News Channel, Fox Soul – The Black Report, NPR, KPCC, Airtalk-89.3, KJLH Front Page with Dominique DiPrima, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times,, Yahoo! Entertainment, People Magazine, Essence Magazine, the Los Angeles Sentinel, LA Focus, Daily Journal, Our Weekly and the Wave Newspapers.

Angela is a member of the panel of distinguished mediators and arbitrators with Judicate West, a California dispute resolution company. She also owns her own dispute resolution law firm, the Reddock Law Group of Los Angeles, specializing in the mediation, arbitration, and investigation of employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and other workplace claims, along with Title IX, sexual harassment, assault, and misconduct conduct cases, along with hazing and bullying cases in K-12 schools, colleges and universities, fraternities and sororities; fire, police and other public safety agencies and departments; and other private and public sector workplaces.

Reddock-Wright has also launched her own radio show, Legal Lens with Angela Reddock-Wright, airing on Tavis Smiley’s new KBLA Talk 1580 radio station on Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. PT with replays on subsequent Sundays. Listeners may tune-in by downloading the APP @kbla1580 and call the PowerLines at 1-800-920-1580.

For more information regarding resources for employers, businesses, and employees during this time, connect with her on LinkedIn for new updates, or contact her here. You may also follow her on Instagram.

This communication is not legal advice. It is educational only. For legal advice, consult with an experienced employment law attorney in your state or city.

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