CLIA Acts to Protect Travel Agents’ Interest in California

Published on : Saturday, August 31, 2019

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has been working with the California state legislature to amend Assembly Bill 5, “The Opportunity to Work Act,” to protect the Independent Contractor (IC) option for the more than 26,000 CLIA travel agents in California.


Assembly Bill 5 would codify the California court decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County, 4 Cal. 5th 903 (2018), where the court adopted the so-called “ABC Test” which determines a worker’s status as either an employee or IC for purposes of wage order claims. As currently written, the “ABC Test” in AB5 would not allow travel agents to work as ICs. It would instead require them to become a W-2 employee in order to perform the services they have previously provided to large travel agencies as an IC. For small, independent travel agents it is much more economically beneficial for them to work as an IC than to become a W-2 employee.


“In order to be competitive with larger travel intermediaries, independent travel agents often aggregate their sales opportunities with other individual travel agents and then contract for services with larger host travel agencies,” said Charles A.B. Sylvia, ECC, Vice President of Membership and Trade Relations, CLIA. “This allows travel agents working as independent, small businesses to earn substantially more and deliver more customized travel packages to consumers. CLIA is urging California state legislators to clarify that independent travel agents are exempt from the ‘ABC Test’ in AB5.”


CLIA sent a “Call to Action” to its California-based travel agents encouraging them to contact their state Assembly Members and state Senators asking them to provide an exemption for independent travel agents in AB5. CLIA’s President and CEO, Kelly Craighead, has contacted key legislators directly to seek their assistance in preserving the IC option for travel agents.


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