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Entrepreneur’s Campaign For Our Careers is a campaign to increase awareness of the negative effects of the PRO Act. This story was part of Entrepreneur’s Campaign For Our Careers. Click here to learn more.
Aimee Benavides spent her 20-year career using both Spanish and English language skills to assist those who are in greatest need. As an interpreter for witnesses and defendants in court, she helps them understand the proceedings. She specializes in the Agribusiness sector where advisers and farmers must exchange very technical information.
Benavides says she likes it because it is very scientific. Benavides started her independent contractor career. And the information shared is useful for feeding people. Even though I don’t get my hands dirty I help to spread information that improves farming efficiency and is better for the environment.
Congress is currently considering legislation called the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (or PRO Act). This bill would threaten her entire career and millions of independent contractors. The ABC Test, also known as the bill, would change the status of anyone similar to her — that is, any person who works in the exact same business line as the client hiring her — to make them an employee of labor law.
Lawmakers often claim that the PRO Act concerns “gig workers”, which is what they refer to as Uber or Lyft drivers. They believe these people are wrongly classified as contractors, when in reality they should be considered employees and entitled to benefits and wage guarantee. The PRO Act would also impact millions of high-paying, highly-skilled careers, given the fact that approximately a third (or so) of Americans work as independent contractors.
This is the PRO Act’s ABC Test version. It was taken from Assembly Bill 5, which Benavides passed in California early in 2020. Lawmakers there promised it would make life easier for “gig workers”. Instead, clients who have been with Benavides for a long time were afraid of working with Benavides and other highly-skilled contractors.
California lost its income in the worst way when translators and interpreters were two of many professions affected. Ultimately, the state’s lawmakers went back and exempted more than 100 professions–everything from physicians and professional foresters to landscape architects and musical engineers–after people like Benavides spent hours upon hours teaching the lawmakers that highly educated and specialized professionals are not the same as app-based drivers.
She says that medical conference attendees are often interpreting when discussing artificial hearts or valves for surgeons. They also explain how to perform operations. Interpreting for public hearings is one of our most important tasks. This allows people to voice their opinions about the happenings in their community. It could be a new railroad yard, or the expansion of a landfill. People who live in industrialized areas are often lower-income and more immigrant. Interpreters help those communities to speak up.
Katelynn Martin is a bookkeeper and administrator who specializes in real estate. She watched from her New Jersey house as the California ABC Test Law wreaked havoc. She knew bookkeepers on the West Coast who lost clients and had to restructure their business. One even left California to continue earning her living. Martin was shocked when New Jersey legislators introduced a copycat bill to her state in an attempt to emulate California just before the pandemic.
Martin states, “You would think that the California disaster was severe enough to warrant a red alert.” While everyone is focused on Uber drivers and whole industries being affected, nobody talks about it.
Martin felt relief when the New Jersey ABC Test Bill was defeated by overwhelming opposition. Federal lawmakers then passed the PRO Act, which contained the ABC Test, and declared that California had “paved way” for all of us.
Martin was feeling frustrated all over again. As an independent contractor she says that it is a pleasure to be her boss. Clients include franchises of acupuncturists, massage therapy therapists, and other people who do not require full-time bookkeeping. For any reason, she doesn’t want to be reclassified in any law as an employee.
Martin states, “I am very content not being an employee.” Martin says that an accountant suggested I be hired as an employee. Your training is not for me. You don’t provide me with any assistance, and you won’t let me work in your office. Yes, I did. “I’m happy as this.”
Mary Beth Hofmeister is the same. After 13 years working in various positions, Mary Beth Hofmeister is an independent financial advisor who helps people plan for retirement.
Hofmeister lives in Albany, New York and works with hundreds of clients. There is a lot to learn. Certified financial planner. You must adhere to the regulations and ethics.
Careers like hers are also at risk from the PRO Act’s ABC Test. According to the Financial Services Institute, it would “undermine thousands of successful advisory firms across the country” and severely limit Main Street investors’ ability to access high-quality financial advice.
It would cause a lot of dislocation. Hofmeister states, “I can’t imagine it. It would be so massive.” “I have worked in small businesses and large corporations, and I don’t want to return to those jobs. I am an entrepreneur. It is a passion that I have to do the things I love. It’s my passion.
Benavides also says that she enjoys what she does and hopes legislators will drop ABC Test laws such as the PRO Act. California’s failed experiment demonstrated that the ABC Test limits all types of skilled services, which many people (including legislators) don’t realize are provided by independent contractors.
When you consider energy grids that cross borders, interpreters are also needed. She says that engineers who manage grids in Mexico and Canada must be highly skilled interpreters. It is not possible for anyone to know the entire terminology of the energy sector and show up at any meeting. You need to have a unique skill set.
This is how you can contact your senator or U.S. representative. Tell your Representative in the House to oppose the PRO Act.
Publiated at Thu 29 July 2021, 17:43:08 +0000