In a ruling that could remake the gig economy, the California Public Utilities Commission has found Uber and Lyft drivers are “presumed to be employees” under AB-5, the state’s new gig work law. Both companies criticized the ruling, saying it could hurt drivers’ wages and pointing to a ballot measure they support that would revoke the law. (Reuters)
Talking point: The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new scrutiny to the labor practices of gig-work companies, as many drivers face a steep drop in income and struggle without healthcare or paid time off, and are unable to claim unemployment insurance. The California regulator issued a formal reminder to Uber and Lyft last week that they had to provide workers’ compensation for their employees by July 1, and that under state law it could consider revoking the companies’ operating authority if they did not comply. Last month, city attorneys-general from Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego also sued over the companies’ alleged non-compliance with AB-5.