How AB-5 could ‘kill’ Christmas by overregulating the ability of Santa and Mrs. Claus to work
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – A woman who owns and operates Royal Entertainment in San Diego said under AB5 she would have to take many of her talent off her list of go-to’s and restructure how she does business.
In the beginning of March, dozens of California “Santas” were notified that their services are no longer needed. “Santa Jerry,” posted a note to the Freelancers Against AB5 Facebook page saying, “On March 3 I lost my 10+ year contract as Santa. The agent is replacing all Santas living in California with out of state Santas to get around AB5 for California Bass Pro Shops. I am sad beyond description. All the children who come to me year after year, their families, I will miss them terribly. Plus I just lost 1/2 my annual income. All for this terrible law. Insanity.”
Santa Jerry’s friend, “Mrs. Claus” joined us on Good Morning San Diego with the owner of Royal Entertainment, Brittany Skipper, to discuss the impact AB 5 has had on the work they have been doing for over a decade.
Skipper says AB 5 is “so overwhelming for a small business” and converting all the “Santas” to employees would cause essentially destroy her business.
She explains, “if we were to go full AB5, the way that they want us to do it, it would mean we need to focus on a smaller group of performers, so instead of the 40 performers that we have now, we need to focus in on maybe 20, who just work a lot more.” She continues to explain that is not what the performers signed up to do, telling KUSI’s Lauren Phinney, “they signed up to do this as a gig here and there… they signed up because this job offers them the flexibility of that. Well, not if they are employees.”
“Mrs. Claus,” Patte Spurlock, is an independent contractor who sings, dances, and acts for retirement homes and details how there are so many gigs for her to do without being an employee.
Spurlock is a 72-year-old woman who said some of the jobs she has done as “Mrs. Claus” have been some of the most joyous of her life. But her ability to choose when and which events she wants to work is what makes it all worth it.
Furthermore, Skipper says her business cannot afford to hire three people to be actors to work a small amount of events here and there.