November 12, 2019
As expected, it looks like the fight over independent contractor (IC) status is moving to the Empire State. A bill (S. 6699 was recently introduced in the New York State Senate that threatens the independent advisor model in the State). In New York, we have launched a grassroots campaign, , even though the legislature is out of session now and will be until January. 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.
The New Yok bill (S.669A) looks a lot like California Assembly Bill 5, establishing the so-called "ABC test" to determine if a worker is an employee or an independent contractor, with no exemptions at the moment. 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.
We suspect other industries are already at work trying to get exempted, so now is the time to act even though the legislature doesn't come back into session until January. ASTA is calling on all travel advisors in New York. Please take two minutes to tell your state Senator to amend this legislation and protect New York small businesses! Click here
Rebranded in 2018 as the American Society of Travel Advisors, ASTA is the leading global advocate for travel advisors, the travel industry and the traveling public. Its members represent 80 percent of all travel sold in the United States through the travel agency distribution channel. Together with hundreds of internationally-based members, ASTA’s history of industry advocacy traces back to its founding in 1931 when it launched with the mission to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism. For more information about the Society, visit ASTA.org. Consumers can connect with an ASTA travel advisor at TravelSense.org.