Another day, another batch of Rideshare & app-based Gig platform news!

  • California appeals court upholds AB5 gig worker law challenged by freelance journalists: “A federal appeals court rejected a challenge by groups of freelance journalists and photographers Wednesday to a California law that limits employers’ ability to classify workers as contractors, saying the law regulates economic activity and does not restrict free speech or a free press. The law, AB5, took effect in 2020 and affirmed standards set by the state Supreme Court in 2018. It defined workers hired by a company as employees unless they performed work for their own business that was outside the scope of the company’s usual activities and were free of the hiring company’s control….. [read full article on San Francisco Chronicle]
  • What New York’s new legislation for delivery work means for gig workers everywhere: “If you’ve ordered takeout during the pandemic, chances are you’ve tapped into the gig economy. As this industry has exploded, one city is stepping up to ensure the rights of delivery workers are preserved and protected. The New York City Council recently passed a six-bill legislative package focused on providing protections to the city’s food delivery workers, according to the council. The bills — which have already been sent along to Mayor Bill De Blasio — will amend the administrative code of New York City and will target questions relating to the treatment of gig workers, including payment policies, bathroom access, and distance and route limits. Gig workers have been fighting for their rights across the U.S., with workers for delivery platforms like Grubhub and Yelp asking for basic benefits, income protection and even guaranteed bathroom access. The first time gig workers saw any meaningful legislation being proposed to address similar issues was Assembly Bill five in California, which went live in January of 2020, and required companies that hire independent contractors to reclassify them as employees….. [read full article on Benefit News]
  • Benefits, flexibility at the center of gig economy workers’ rights battle: “On a day when dozens of lawmakers voiced opposition to legislation that would overhaul how companies classify and compensate app-based drivers, leaders of the gig economy giants seeking the changes indicated that their business models could not accommodate employee benefits under existing state law. Higher-ups at Lyft, DoorDash and Instacart faced pointed inquiries from lawmakers on Wednesday about why they are pursuing a bill and an initiative petition that would declare drivers as independent contractors while launching “portable benefit accounts” that could be used for health insurance, retirement and more. Many of those questions featured some variation of a single point: why can’t popular ride-hailing and delivery app companies keep the worker flexibility they praise in place while offering employee benefits to their drivers? “There’s really no evidence in the world, in the country and certainly not in Massachusetts that the minute-by-minute flexibility that we’re talking about that’s available on these apps, where drivers can log on and log off, and go work for other apps — that doesn’t co-exist with employment anywhere,” Jen Hensley, Lyft’s vice president and head of government relations, told the Financial Services Committee….. [read full article on Wicked Local]
  • HPD, CrimeStoppers issue warning of new scam targeting Uber drivers: “HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Honolulu Police Department (HPD) and CrimeStoppers sent out a warning on Wednesday, Oct. 6, about a new scam targeting Uber drivers. Uber drivers have reported receiving phone calls from someone claiming to be an Uber customer service representative requesting their driver’s account information. Police said the drivers later discovered that the money earned from their fares was withdrawn from their accounts. Drivers are advised to never disclose their account information over the phone….. [article source KHON2]
  • Mum-of-three, 45, left furious after Uber Eats driver keeps her wedding ring after finding it in bakery: ““The staff there told me an Uber Eats delivery driver had found my ring right outside, and brought it into the store. “I couldn’t believe my ears as the staff told me the driver had refused to hand it over, but instead said he was going to sell it. “The bakers had suggested they keep hold of it, because the ring most likely belonged to one of their customers. “But the driver refused and even told them he was going to make a profit by flogging the band online.” “Staff knew the ring was mine because I could tell them the engravings on the ring, which they had seen….. [read full article]
  • Rite Aid partners with Uber Eats: “In order for customers to purchase items for delivery from Rite Aid, all they need to do is to open the Uber Eats mobile application, tap the convenience or pharmacy icons, select Rite Aid, and begin shopping. Within the mobile application, users can access a catalog of healthcare and grocery items. Uber Pass and Eats Pass customers will not have a delivery fee and will receive five percent off on all orders that are more than $15. “Consumer shopping preferences are changing, so we are continuing to evolve our retail business to ensure customers are able to conveniently get what they need to keep their family happy and healthy – whether they visit us in-store or buy online,” Jim Peters, chief operating officer of Rite Aid said in a news release. “By adding Uber as a delivery option, we are doubling down on an omnichannel approach that complements the busy lives of our customers.”….. [read full article Penn Live]
  • App-based companies say drivers want to be contractors. Opponents say that strips workers’ rights: “Over 3,200 drivers signed a letter in favor of the bill to be delivered to legislators, organized by Massachusetts Coalition for Independent Work. The coalition, which backs the legislation and a similar proposal that could appear on the ballot next year, is financially supported by DoorDash, Lyft, Instacart and Uber. “Drivers like us choose app-based work because it gives us flexibility to earn extra income and also take care of our families, finish school, or work our full-time jobs,” the drivers wrote in the letter. “We choose it specifically because of its independence, and we don’t want to set schedules or required shifts in order to earn a little extra money.” Marcus Cole was among those who signed the letter. He has been driving for Lyft for six years, and said during a webinar held by the coalition Wednesday that legislators should listen to the needs of drivers directly….. [read full article on WBUR]
  • Why Faster Access To Earned Wages Is Critical For The Gig Workforce: “Throughout the pandemic, workers flocked to the gig economy looking to make up for lost income or deficiencies in their full-time income and to take advantage of the influx in available jobs. While accelerated over the last year, this trend shows no signs of slowing down, as recent Monster data showed that 92% are now considering gig work. For many, Covid-19 and the shift to remote work has led to a desire for flexibility over when, how and where they work. We also know these workers are deeply concerned with financial matters, like meeting day-to-day expenses or building their emergency funds. Unfortunately, however, a shift to gig economy work alone is rarely a path to financial flexibility or freedom; many face income volatility and major cash gaps, as disposable income is needed to successfully run their gig businesses. In fact, research from the Federal Reserve showed 58% of gig workers would struggle to cover an unanticipated $400 expense. Not only does this segment of the workforce face inconsistencies in demand for their work — particularly in the delivery and transportation industries — but they also incur a high cost for the nature of their work, including vehicle fuel, maintenance and insurance expenses. As gig platforms look to retain their growing workforce, addressing these payment needs and empowering a financially healthy gig workforce can help them stand out. Here’s why this must become table stakes to support our nation’s economic recovery:….. [read full article on Forbes]

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