Doctor

Kathleen Lomax

I’m a doctor of medicine in the pharmaceutical industry. I recently created an LLC to take on contract jobs. I want to control my hours and travel for leisure after more than 17 years of working in a variety of full-time pharmaceutical jobs. Being an independent contractor will allow me to be at home for my kids when I need to be there, yet still use my medical training to earn an income.

What will happen to me if S863 (formerly S4204/A5936) becomes law: I will be forced to do another long commute, and my kids will be stuck at the library for hours until someone can pick them up.

What I want lawmakers to do: Stop causing so many people so much unneeded stress. Use surgical precision in combating the problematic business practices of companies like Uber and Lyft without ruining every other independent contractor’s livelihood.

Marketing consultant, Social media consultant, Video Editor, Writer

Elizabeth Uss Barry

My typical workday begins at 8:30 a.m., as soon as my 3-year-old son with special needs leaves for preschool on the school bus. I work on various projects for my clients: planning social media calendars, writing blogs posts and editing video to share. Sometimes, I go to their offices for planning meetings or to go over what is working and what isn’t, in order to change the strategy, or to take photos and video “behind the scenes.” My workday concludes when my son steps off the school bus at 3:30 p.m. I also work on weekends when my husband is home to take care of our son.

Why I want to remain an independent contractor: I’ve always been a freelancer. I was a freelance television producer for 20 years prior to my current consulting role, and now, because I need to be home with my son and take him to therapy appointments after school, remaining a freelancer is the only way that I can still use my skills and help pay the bills. I could not work as an employee because I cannot keep 9-to-5 hours, plus commuting hours.

What’s wrong with S863 (formerly S4204/A5936): B-prong of the ABC test that this legislation intends to codify would force my clients to choose between making me an employee or finding someone else to do the work that I’m already doing well, and that I enjoy doing. And even if one client did make me an employee, I would not be able to accept the position. I just could not work regular business hours.

Lawmakers, please understand: I appreciate the sentiment behind this legislation, because there are many companies that do take advantage of independent contractors. (I used to work for one!) but S863 (formerly S4204/A5936) is not the answer. It would seriously curtail my ability to work at all.

Band leader, Musician

Bradley Madsen

As a musician and band leader, sometimes I have no gigs, but will be contracting musicians for upcoming work. Other times, I have multiple gigs at various sites in the tristate area (my record is four gigs in one day, leaving before 7 a.m. and returning at 2 a.m.).

Why I like being an independent contractor: I can make a living playing. There are very, very few organizations that have the amount of work necessary to employ a musician full-time. The vast majority of highly successful music companies have enough work to employ musicians part-time. If I were employed by one office exclusively, I’d be working part-time, and not enough to qualify for any sort of health and retirement benefits.

How S863 (formerly S4204/A5936) will affect me: My career will be devastated by this bill. Some jobs will continue, but the vast majority will not be able to shoulder the increased costs of going W2 and will go away.

What I want lawmakers to know: Without understanding how various industries work, you can’t effectively judge whether this bill should apply to those industries. You need to talk to lots of people in lots of industries that consist of mostly independent contractors to understand why they want to be independent contractors. If they don’t want to be independent contractors, then you know it’s an industry that needs regulation in order to force a switch.

But I’m not those people. I’ve built my entire life and career around being an independent contractor. In mere weeks, you could devastate my livelihood, making the very foundation of my family’s life in New Jersey unstable and possibly forcing us to relocate in order to survive.

If this legislation passes, I can honestly say I do not know what I will do to pay my bills.

Writer

Laurie Tarkan

I’m a longtime freelance journalist who has written regularly for The New York Times, many women’s and consumer magazines, and tons of websites. I became a freelance writer because most magazine articles were outsourced to freelancers rather than being written in-house by employees. When my kids were born, writing as a freelancer became a perfect way to balance work and family while reducing child-care costs.

One of my children has suffered from chronic migraines, and it has been extremely helpful for me to be available at home during the day. She had to miss many, many days of school, and it would have been hard to manage that situation had I been working in New York City at a full-time job.

What will happen to me if S863 (formerly S4204/A5936) becomes law: Having been out of the traditional workplace for many years, it would be incredibly difficult for me to get an on-staff job. I know because I’ve tried. Employers are afraid to take a risk on hiring a freelancer, despite my depth of experience. And I wouldn’t want a staff job anyway: The ones that are available pay only about two-thirds of my current income as an independent contractor.

I am a divorced mother of two children, with one in college and the other soon to be in college, and there is no way that I could support our financial needs without my work.

What I want lawmakers to know: You are hurting older women, single women, and those caring for children. You are failing to recognize that these types of laws hurt small business owners who spent a lifetime building a reputation and a business, and who are choosing to bank on themselves to succeed.

What you are doing to freelance journalists is akin to closing a well-known, successful restaurant and telling the owner to go get a job somewhere else.

Church choir director, Editor, Virtual assistant

Susan Schneider

My freelance jobs are varied. I work as a virtual assistant, transcribing interviews for medical-device journalists, and I’m a church choir director. I also do some word processing and editing.

I have metastatic breast cancer and would find it impossible to work in an office. Making my own hours and working at home is the only viable way for me to function. I am also 63 years old, and no company is going to hire me, other than on a consulting basis.

My husband also has a business that functions as a consultant to a large company, and he is paid commission only. They would not take on the extra expense of hiring him. We literally would lose our home and our health insurance if our businesses were no longer viable.

What I want lawmakers to know: Don’t ram S863 through the legislature. Understand what it would mean to millions of people. If you want more taxes, figure out how to raise that money without putting us out of business.

Photographer

Joy Yagid

I photograph weddings, bah mitzvahs and families on weekends. During the week, I photograph events for companies and universities, take headshots for professionals, shoot homes for real estate agents, write hyper-local news pieces and teach photography. I create a bit of video, too. When I’m not with my camera, I’m with my Mac, editing everything.

For me, the great thing about being an independent contractor is the work-life balance. I like the autonomy, and I like that I’m able to do my work while also caring for my family members.

Why I’m so scared: If S863 (formerly S4204/A5936) becomes law, then I’m going to have a bunch of gun-shy clients that won’t want to deal with figuring it all out, or risk being penalized. They’ll just stop hiring me. And I’ll be unable to hire second-level photographers as freelancers; I can’t afford to do that, and they don’t want to work full-time for me, anyway.

All of us will lose our clients. We’re just going to outright lose everything.

Writer

Michele C. Hollow

I’ve been a freelance journalist for almost 30 years. I have always enjoyed having my independence. Also, my son, who will be 19 at the end of this month, has autism; my schedule has allowed me to take him to therapy, pick him up from school when he’s had a meltdown, and take him to see doctors and other programs.

Why I’m worried about S863 (formerly S4204/A5936): It’s a version of the AB5 independent contractor law that just got passed in California, and freelancers there have lost work. New Jersey’s proposed version seems stricter. I don’t want to lose clients. I just turned 62, and there’s a lot of ageism in my field. No one will hire me for a full-time, in-office position. I’ll lose my livelihood and will be forced to move.

What I want lawmakers to know: Please, consider how this legislation will hurt freelancers, moms, older freelancers and disabled people.