California Supreme Court Changes Test for Independent Contractor Status

Bryan Benard by Bryan Benard For purposes of compliance with California wage orders, a company seeking to establish that a worker is an independent contractor rather than an employee now must meet a three-part test, according to a recent opinion by California’s highest court. This new test is a significant departure from the previous multi-factor test that has been the standard in California since 1989.  The New “ABC” Test  The Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) regulates wages, hours, and working conditions in California, and issues wage orders that specify required minimum wages, meals and lodging credits, exemptions, meal and rest periods, seating and temperature requirements, and other work-related requirements in the state. These wage orders apply to employees, not to independent contractors, so the IWC’s definition of what it means to “employ” an individual is key in determining proper classification. Under the IWC’s…

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