It should come as no surprise that New York City is home to a large number of freelancers—approximately 400,000 according to the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs. In order to assist this growing population, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment of recently announced that a Freelancers Hub will be opening at the Made in NY Media Center in Brooklyn during the first week of October.
When the Supreme Court decided this May that businesses were permitted to enter into class waiver agreements with employees and contractors, forcing them into individual arbitration proceedings over workplace disputes rather than having to be subjected to bloated and costly class action litigation, we called it a “monumental” decision that “saved employment arbitration as we know it.” For businesses in the gig world, we now have a definitive example of just how valuable the SCOTUS’s new standard can be when it comes to misclassification cases.
While businesses, chambers of commerce, local leaders, and others have put the full-court press on the California legislature to take action to somehow lessen the impact of the new ABC Test for determining misclassification in light of the state Supreme Court’s recent Dynamex decision, it appears there is no relief in sight. For the foreseeable future, California employers need to adjust to the new reality and assume things aren’t going to be changing.
It is well-known that female employees in the United States earn less than their male counterparts, with most studies finding that females earn somewhere between 80 and 90 percent of what males earn. Various factors are cited to explain the differential in earnings, including prior employment and earnings history, differences in industry and occupation, time spent in the workforce, and biases against working mothers (among other factors). The gap in earnings does, however, diminish substantially when salary data is controlled for individual job functions at the same level and among employees of the employer.
We can safely say that one of the biggest supporters of the gig economy is Virginia Senator Mark Warner (D). Back in 2016, he advocated for the Labor Department to update its statistics to help us get better insight into the size of the gig economy. In 2017, he crafted a concept and introduced a bill to assist local governments with funding and development of portable benefits for gig workers, then followed that up with a proposal designed to tackle tax issues that arise for gig workers. He’s at it again.
We’ve been asking for increased regulation of the gig economy, and we got it – just not the kind of regulation businesses were hoping for. While gig businesses are craving a modern regulatory approach to misclassification issues, the New York City Council yesterday instead issued a series of new laws that could serve to cool off the growth that we’ve been seeing for the past few years. Among the new laws, ride-sharing drivers will soon be entitled to what appears to be the nation’s first minimum payment wage rates, and the number of licenses for permissible ride-sharing drivers will be artificially capped for the first time.