Protesters for and against AB 5, the gig economy law, rally at the state Capitol in Sacramento. (Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters)

Starting Jan. 1, a new California law will require some businesses to reclassify independent contractors as employees — granting them benefits such as overtime pay and the right to join a union.

Businesses and organized labor both heavily lobbied lawmakers over the bill, and while some industries won exemptions, others did not.

The law is projected to change the employment status of 1 million workers, such as truckers, janitors, manicurists and gig economy workers. Throughout the debate, Uber and Lyft drivers received the bulk of the media’s attention since they embodied the fight: Do you want flexibility to work when you please? Or do you want set wages that come with job protections?

Drivers have been — and remain — split on that question as Gov. Gavin Newsom searches for a way to give them both.

Written by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, of San Diego, the law codifies a California Supreme Court decision, and has already inspired legal challenges to overturn it — including one filed by freelance journalists — and a potential 2020 ballot measure to overturn it — which will be largely funded by ride-hailing services and DoorDash.

In this video, CalMatters’ economy reporter Judy Lin breaks down the new law in one minute.

CalMatters is building a video playlist to explains how various new laws will influence the lives of Californians. You can subscribe to our channel and check out other selections from the playlist below: is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California policies and politics.