Professional sports teams in the Golden State will soon have to grant basic employee rights to the performers BY Nicola Middlemiss 21 Sep 2015 Share Whi le the average NFL player will pocket more than $2 million this year, there are some other performers gracing the field who – believe it or not – are still battling for minimum wage. However in California, that won’t be the case for much longer. Legislators in the Golden State have just passed a state law requiring professional sports teams to grant their cheerleaders basic employee rights. The law, which will come into effect in January, means the popular team mascots will receive at least minimum wage and sick leave. Unbelievable "Even with the stronger [labour] laws here, we had to pass a law. Unbelievable, right?" California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who introduced the bill, told CBC News. The recent legislation comes on the back of several lawsuits launched against a number of NFL teams in which both current and former cheerleaders claim they earned below minimum-wage pay, in abusive working conditions. The highly-skilled performers, a favourite with many fans, reportedly make between $23,000 and $65,000 a year. Assemblywoman Gonzalez, herself a former college cheerleader, said she was compelled to introduce the bill after the lawsuits did little to change the situation. Exploited Reassuringly, California isn’t the only state taking steps to ensure a fair wage for the professional performers. New York is currently trying to pass the Cheerleaders Fair Pay Act, preventing teams from classifying the mascots as independent contractors. "We're not going to stand by and see women exploited," Sen. Diane Savino said on WCNY’s “The Capitol Pressroom. “They are not just pretty....They are athletes as much as the players on the field,” added Savino of D-Staten Island. More like this: Workers’ comp claims to double? How to offer “real recognition” Gender a career barrier for 90 per cent of women, study suggests You've reached your limit - Register for free now for unlimited access To read the full story, just register for free now - GET STARTED HERE Already subscribed? Log in below LOGIN Remember me Forgot password?