Credit Uber with being one of the first companies to enter the gig economy space and changing the way the world thinks about the entire industry. The company now seems poised to change the way you think of Uber itself.
In many of the U.S.’s most congested cities, ridesharing is a way of life because owning a car is expensive and inconvenient. Among frequent riders, many use Uber and Lyft apps interchangeably depending on driver availability and cost.
Bloomberg Law’s Jaclyn Diaz wrote a very interesting story earlier this week asking whether the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) would soon issue an opinion letter to aid gig economy companies with commonplace labor and employment issues—namely, the ever-present threat of misclassification. Unfortunately, the story seems to indicate that such a letter is not on the horizon anytime soon, but it does describe the current atmosphere as one that could soon support such an opinion.
The term gig economy is not just one you hear millennials use; it’s a continuously growing workforce of independent contractors who value flexibility over what used to be referred to as a steady job.
Earlier this year, the founders of Ruby Ribbon, UrbanSitter, and BabyQuip created a multi-company survey of women who gig to learn more about their experiences and expectations. The study included survey results from over 1000 women who perform gig work on at least one of their platforms. These women have plenty of experience in this arena, with a quarter reporting they started handling gig work before the term “gig economy” was even coined.
During Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit earlier this week, Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi dropped a bombshell: the company wants to soon provide benefits to its drivers in an effort to close the gap between what is received by its contractor fleet and its employee workforce. If this comes to fruition, it could revolutionize the way that gig workers are compensated, could lead to even more people jumping into the gig worker pool—and could spark a renewed misclassification battle over contractor status.
As students have started another school year this Fall, conversations often return to teachers’ pay and the disparity between what they are undoubtedly worth and what they actually earn. In fact, Time magazine dedicated a recent cover story to the economic realities of being a teacher in today’s society. Perhaps in recognition of the long-standing pay issues, many teachers now use the gig economy as a way to supplement their income.