Independent Women’s Forum received this compelling story from a reader deeply affected by California’s recent policy change seeking to restrict flexible work arrangements:

My name is Nancy and I have been an independent contractor optometrist for 18 years. I currently work part-time so that I can raise my two boys. Being an IC optometrist has given me the flexibility and the income to have the best of both worlds, a fulfilling career and be present for my children. The AB5 bill has cut my income by 30 percent overnight!  I will have to work more to stay afloat. This is detrimental to my family.

The AB5 gave exemptions to surgeons, psychologists and podiatrists but not to optometrists. This makes no sense and is completely unfair. Optometrists are doctors and recognized as physicians under Medicare. We have historically worked as independent contractors, often working in several practices. Why aren’t we exempt? Did we not lobby hard enough? Not contribute enough money to get the exemption?

This bill will have a tremendous negative trickle-down effect in CA. My employer’s labor costs have substantially gone up due to AB5. He has no choice but to raise fees to offset his expenses. The patients will have to pay much more for their eye care. Optometrists WANT to be independent contractors. We are not exploited workers. Being ICs enables us to deliver healthcare efficiently and economically. Please reconsider what this bill is doing to people’s livelihoods. What happens to those who want to be independent contractors? Why are you taking away our freedom and our right to work? Please help!

Dr. Nancy P., O.D.