California AB5 Bill Passed: Announcement for Our CA-Based Transcribers

California AB5 changes

We take pride in our transcription services. For that, we are thankful for the thoughtful work of our professional transcribers.

Our work is not always easy. It can get tedious and challenging. We appreciate all your efforts and time spent delivering the best possible transcriptions of our customers’ documents over and over again.

Now, considering current events, we have some news to share that affects our California-based transcribers. We are accommodating the recently passed AB5 bill (in the state of California), which we will elaborate on below.

Scribie’s Values

Scribie is driven by values. Our manifesto has been serving as a guide for our partners, customers, and team members.

We uphold fair compensation, a clean work environment, respect, and merit. Know that we keep these guiding principles in mind whenever a key decision has to be made.

The Future of the Transcription Business 

Times have been changing and we have been vocal about how new technologies and market situations will affect our work.

For one, automated transcription is more viable than ever for mainstream use cases. This led to an opportunity to focus on high-stakes and highly-competitive use cases. Such scenarios highlight the unique strengths of manual transcription.

As we move forward, our community of transcribers is more vital than ever.

The AB5 bill and its impact on Scribie

What is the AB5 Bill?

The AB5 Bill was recently introduced in California. As a result, we’ve gone through their ABC Test.

To give a brief summary, it will require companies to reclassify California-based “independent contractors” into “employees.” As it stands, Scribie wasn’t able to pass the 2nd prong of the said ABC test. In other words, we were not able to substantiate freelancers’ independence from Scribie based on their qualifications.

As a result, we are now required to make changes for California-based transcribers that we cannot currently afford. The traditional, full-time employment setup for our network of transcribers does not fit the current infrastructure.

Shaking up the system requires wildly different commitments in terms of pricing our services, transcriber responsibilities, turnaround times, the four-step process, the volume of jobs that we accept, and much more.

Thankfully, the law is currently fluid, and we hope that California adopts what NJ did and exempt freelance work. We continue to hope that it does happen in the future, allowing us to continue operating based on the model that we’ve built together through the years.

Scribie’s Plan of Action

We are currently seeking for other possible solutions to work with the new law (and, especially, its intent), since it hurts not only you but us as well. We reluctantly must pause our collaboration once December 15 hits in accordance to the AB5 bill.

What exactly happens on December 15, 2019?

In response to this bill, Scribie is currently looking at possible business model changes.

In the meantime, the accounts of California-based transcribers will be disabled starting on December 15.

For now, any ongoing project that transcribers may be working on can still be completed. You can withdraw your earnings now if you choose to do so.

The best solutions currently at hand.

A similar bill was passed in New Jersey, though it effectively exempted remote workers/freelancers from being affected. While there is still no absolute indication, we are hopeful that CA will follow NJ’s footsteps.

This interim change saddens us, but the law is the law. In the meantime, we will have to explore adjustments to our business model, and as mentioned previously, will have to temporarily suspend the accounts of California-based once December 15 hits.

The reality is, Scribie is, at the moment not ready to adapt to the changes being proposed by the California AB5 law. Our entire system considers operational costs, the competitive landscape, pre-existing agreements, and much more. At any rate, we are pursuing long-term solutions that will account for our customers and the whole community.

To emphasize, we do support certain principles that inspired this bill. At any rate, the globalized nature of our operations have to account for other commitments that affect our customers and partners around the world.

Let’s move forward

We will continue to monitor policy changes in California, the Federal level, and other regions.

We will keep you posted for any updates.

Have thoughts to share or points to clarify? You may connect with us through the Slack community.


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