A new poll shows that New Jerseyans strongly support keeping app-based rideshare and delivery drivers as independent contractors, but with benefit protection. The poll, conducted by the Global Strategy Group for the New Jersey Coalition for Independent Work shows that 79% of New Jersey voters support policies that allow rideshare and delivery drivers for companies like Uber, Lyft and Door Dash continue their employment flexibility, as long as they can receive benefits and driver protections. Among New Jerseyans who work as app-based drivers, 71% said they would stop driving if they were forced to become employees and lose their flexibility. Nearly every driver (93%) view being allowed “to schedule my work around family, health, education, and/or other work” is a priority, and 98% agree that working as driver allows then “flexibility to choose when, where, and how I work, which I can’t get from a traditional job.” According to the poll, 80% of app-based drivers have other income sources and just 14% say driving is their full-time gig.  Almost six-in-ten drivers (59%) receive a W-2 for their other job, and 19% are students. “Poll after poll shows that drivers overwhelmingly want to maintain the flexibility they have to work where and when they want,” said Beth DeFalco, a spokesperson for the coalition. “This research is clear: the vast majority of New Jersey workers and voters support a solution where workers maintain their independence while gaining access to new benefits and protections.” Among New Jersey voters, preserving independent contractor status for app-based drivers wins support of 86% of Hispanics, 78% of Blacks, and 88% of people between the ages of 18 and 44.  The idea polls equally well among Democrats, Republicans and independents. Instead, New Jerseyans prefer a framework that preserves the flexibility and adds some benefits. There is significant support for policies that: prohibit companies from requiring divers to work a set number of hours or requiring them to not work for competitors; require occupational accident insurance as protections for on-the-job injuries; and portable benefits. The Global Strategy Group poll was conducted on May 4-14 with a sample size of 600 registered voters and 333 rideshare and delivery drivers. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4%.

*By David Wildstein, New Jersey Globe*

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