Travel insights from Travel Market Report

California Bill Becomes Law, Exempting Travel Agents

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 5 (A.B. 5), solidifying the status of independent contractor (IC) travel agents.

When it was originally written, A.B. 5 would have required travel advisor ICs to become full-time employees or terminate their businesses. In late August, the bill was amended to exempt travel advisor ICs from its requirements.

“We are very pleased that Governor Newsom has signed this important legislation into law,” said California Coalition of Travel Organizations [CCTO] President Diane Embree.

“As previously written, A.B. 5 threatened the business model of travel agencies in California that rely on ICs to sell travel, and securing an exemption for our industry was, by far, the biggest legislative challenge we have faced in recent memory,” said Zane Kerby, president and CEO of the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA).

"Thanks to the hard work of ASTA and CCTO members, massive disruption to our industry in California and beyond has been avoided," said Eben Peck, ASTA's executive vice president, advocacy. "We applaud both their efforts and the California legislature for listening to our concerns and amending A.B. 5 accordingly. This is a great win for the travel agency community!”

A.B. 5 will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

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