ASTA Preparing to Fight Independent Contractor Bill in New York

The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) is preparing to fight back against a new bill introduced in the New York State Senate seeking to reclassify more workers as employees rather than independent contractors (ICs)

The proposed legislation is potentially harmful for travel agencies, which rely on home-based ICs to sell travel.

“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 stated in its Travel Advisor Daily newsletter, encouraging New York residents to contact their state senator.

“It is critical that this legislation be amended to protect the independent advisor model that has existed in our industry for decades and provides opportunities for thousands of small business owners,” ASTA stated.

ASTA was anticipating the bill and is already at work to carve out an exemption for travel agencies just as it did in California over the summer.

The issue hinges on one of the three factors that the bill lists that deem a worker an IC: “The person performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business.” A travel agency that sells travel and relies on ICs to do the same would not qualify. While not legally tested, it’s believed that host agencies only offering support services to agents would satisfy the condition.

In August, ASTA’s Eben Peck penned a letter in support of a congressional bill aimed at defining the role of ICs in the current workplace.

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