Just last month, an employment tribunal in London held a bicycle courier was not self-employed, but instead should be classified as a worker under English law. Consequently, Maggie Dewhurst, who brought suit against UK courier CitySprint, was entitled to two days of holiday pay. The decision comes only months after a Central London Employment Tribunal similarly ruled for Uber drivers, and at a time when it is estimated that one in seven British workers are self-employed. It is the continuation of a worrying trend that American businesses might want to pay attention to as preview into how things might be decided on this side of the pond.
President Trump has spent much of the first month of his presidency embroiled in controversy over his immigration policies. His economic proposals – part and parcel of his campaign – have taken a backseat to attempts at immigration reform. But the president will eventually turn his attention to economic issues, and his policies could potentially have a far-reaching impact on the gig economy.
My colleague Brandy Cody recently published a blog post that described several tools available to gig workers to help them manage their work. As predicted by one attorney in thier blog post a couple of weeks ago, companies are beginning to develop new solutions for their workers without government coercion or intervention, using ingenuity to adapt to changing times.
There is no greater area of innovation then the shared economy. Companies like Uber, Lyft, AirBnB are among the leaders in technical innovation and business strategy. At the heart of the shared economy is the idea that those doing the work at companies are freelancers rather than employees.
We all have the ability to dream, to imagine doing things we aren’t yet doing. We dream of having a steady income, financial security, and enjoying our work. Some individuals have found they are able to achieve part of their dream with employment in the form of gigs – a gig here, a gig there – enjoying the work on their own schedule.
In a somewhat surprising but positive development for gig companies, a Florida state appellate court ruled on February 1, 2017 that Uber drivers are independent contractors, NOT employees, and therefore not entitled to unemployment compensation benefits when their working relationship with the car ride service terminates.
The on-demand economy has certainly changed the way people provide and receive services. It may also be changing the way the government focuses its enforcement priorities.
A recent rash of attacks on Uber and Lyft drivers raises questions regarding the safety of these gig economy workers. Drivers must often work under dangerous circumstances, including chauffeuring complete strangers, many of whom are intoxicated and thus need a designated driver, to unfamiliar destinations at all times of the day and night.