The Trump administration announced yesterday that Uber drivers and other gig economy workers are not employees. Accordingly, the administration reasons, they aren’t entitled to employee protections.
“It’s one of the most contentious questions in the world of work these days: Whom do Uber drivers and others in the gig economy really work for?
In the eyes of the Trump administration, they work for themselves.
The Labor Department announced Monday it had determined such workers are not employees but independent contractors, and therefore are not protected by labor standards like the minimum wage and overtime pay. The decision was laid out in what’s known as an opinion letter issued by the agency’s wage and hour division to let companies know where the agency stands on a hot-button issue.
By making such a determination, the agency came down on the side of companies like Uber, Lyft and Handy, which have long argued that those who do their work are not actually their workers. Many Silicon Valley startups have predicated their business models on the use of independent contractors, who must bear costs stemming from their jobs ― such as gasoline for vehicles ―while also forgoing basic protections afforded traditional employees.
The Labor Department issued its public letter to lawyers representing an unnamed “virtual marketplace company that operates in the so-called ‘on-demand’ or ‘sharing’ economy.”
Referring to workers as “service providers,” the letter makes the legal case that the Ubers of the world have been making for years: that the workers exercise their own control over their work and schedules, and therefore shouldn’t be considered employees under the law.”
For the rest of the story, visit the Huffington Post here.