AB5 Resources for Members in the State of California

Last Updated: December 23, 2019

Dear California Member,

As you may already know, California Assembly Bill 5 (“AB5”), which clarifies how to determine whether California workers should be classified as employees or independent contractors and was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom in September 2019, goes into effect on January 1, 2020. Although this bill’s original focus was on gig economy workers, it will affect many businesses and individuals throughout the state, including yoga studios (and therefore studio-based operators of yoga teacher training programs) and yoga teachers.

In short, this legislation sets forth a three-part test for determining if an individual is an employee or an independent contractor – a brief overview is below.

As of January 1, 2020, to hire someone as an independent contractor, the hiring entity must prove that:

  1. The worker is free from the hiring entity’s control and direction in connection with performing the work;
  2. The worker is customarily engaged in an independent trade, occupation, or business in that industry.

If any of these three conditions are not met, the individual must be classified as an employee. Although AB5 contains some specific job and industry exemptions, none apply to yoga schools, studios, or teachers, thereby bringing the yoga industry within the scope of the three-part standard set forth above.

To support members through this transition, Yoga Alliance has compiled necessary and relevant resources to be found here for easy access and use. Resources include a sample offer letter for new hires, necessary time-of-hire forms such as those related to sexual harassment training or paid family leave, required federal and state tax forms, and information about additional employer considerations. You will also find a curated list of relevant Yoga Alliance past articles and workshops pertaining to this topic included.

We will work to provide you with any additional support as needed in the new year. For further information, or to share any details about regulatory actions you’d like to call to our attention, please contact

As always, thank you for your continued work in providing and practicing high quality, safe, accessible, and equitable yoga in the state of California.

Yours in yoga,

Shannon Roche
President & CEO
Yoga Alliance | Yoga Alliance Foundation

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