I hope that this post is allowed as it discusses proposed legislation in MA but may also have wider ramifications ie METAR. Let me know.
I sit on the board of the local Chamber of Commerce and we have been asked to endorse some pending MA legislation that would really change the “look and feel” of the entire employee/independent contractor relationship starting with the driver app platforms (Uber, Lyft, Doordash, etc.)
This bill retains the rights of the drivers to continue to be “independent contractors” in many ways like choosing their work hours, work geography, work frequency, etc. But it does REQUIRE the App platform companies to maintain rigorous and accurate records of work hours, customer fees, tips, etc. and report these numbers to the State. This bill also requires the App platform companies to accrue sick time, contribute to the State run Obama Care program for healthcare and pay for other “employee-like” benefits.
This seems like a messy situation as the driver service contractor does not have the ability to set his own rates unlike plumbers, electricians, graphic artists, programmers and other “truly independent” contractors who can. In that way, I’ve never really thought of an Uber driver as an independent contractor - more like a freelance employee who gets paid by the amount of services that they clock in.
But this proposed legislation has the potential to change the existing dynamics wrt the driver / platform cost structure and I would have to assume that any additional costs that are incurred by the App platform re: providing for healthcare, disability and other benefits will only get passed along to the end consumer.
I worry that if this bill passes, and the App platforms either to take their business elsewhere (would they?) or raise the rates for services so high that the consumer demand of said services are reduced, then the drivers lose in the end because there is reduced overall demand.
I also think about the other side of the coin for those independent contractors who are truly independent today (plumber, electrician, etc) would they be able to lobby for some type of “employee-like” benefits paid from who knows where?
Are other states grappling with this issue?