Rideshares’ Ballot Initiative Aims to Combat AB5, Includes WC Component

Nancy Grover

Sacramento, CA (WorkersCompensation.com) – Several ridesharing companies have launched an initiative to ensure drivers have flexibility while also providing an array of benefits. Called the Protect App-Based Drivers & Services Act, the proposal comes in the wake of California’s AB 5, which changed the way employers classify workers.

The new law seeks to reclassify ‘gig’ workers as employees, giving them protections such as workers’ compensation. But Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and other companies say the legislation will hurt their businesses and they have pledged to fight against it.

“…recent legislation has threatened to take away the flexible work opportunities of hundreds of thousands of Californians, potentially forcing them into set shifts and mandatory hours, taking away their ability to make their own decisions about the jobs they take and the hours they work,” the organizations said in a news release announcing the ballot initiative.

Among the provisions included in the proposal is coverage for work-related medical expenses incurred “up to at least $1 million,” the proposal states. ”Disability payments and death benefits equal to 66 percent of the on-demand driver’s average weekly earnings from all network companies as of the date of injury. For the benefit of spouses, children or other dependents of on-demand drivers, accidental death insurance with burial expenses and death benefits. These benefits are consistent with those provided by workers’ compensation benefits.”

Additional benefits include:

  • Protect worker flexibility and independence by allowing app-based rideshare and delivery drivers to work as independent contractors if certain criteria are met, such as having control over their own hours and when, where, how long they work, and the ability to work for multiple companies.
  • Require new minimum earning and benefit guarantees, including:
  • At least 120 percent of the minimum wage, while preserving the opportunity to earn more
  • .30 per mile for expenses such as gas and vehicle wear and tear
  • Healthcare subsidies consistent with employer contributions under the Affordable Care Act for drivers who work 15 hours a week or more
  • Automobile accident and liability insurance
  • Protection against discrimination and sexual harassment
  • Implement new customer and public safety protections. The measure would provide for:
  • Recurring background checks of drivers
  • Mandatory safety training of drivers
  • Zero tolerance for alcohol and drug offenses
  • A cap on driver hours per day to prevent sleepy drivin

Pronponents need 660,000 signatures from registered voters to get the proposal on the November 2020 ballot.

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