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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.   

One year after Uber and Lyft terminated operations in Austin, Texas, the ride-sharing platforms may be ready to return. The issue stems from a City of Austin ordinance that requires all “transportation network companies” (TNCs) to conduct fingerprint-based criminal background checks on individual drivers. The ordinance passed in December 2015, and went into effect in May 2016. Immediately after the ordinance went into effect, Uber and Lyft announced they were terminating service in the Austin market, primarily because of concerns over the length of time required to complete the background checks (a difficult impediment for a business model reliant upon quick onboarding of new drivers). Lyft, at the time, commented that it “doesn’t operate our peer-to-peer service in any market where mandatory fingerprinting requirements exist.”

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.       

President-elect Donald Trump has announced the nomination of Andrew Puzder as the next Secretary of Labor. Mr. Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants (the parent company of Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s and Green Burrito), will head the U.S. Department of Labor, a federal agency that plays a major role in regulating employment matters and directing employment policy on the federal level. What should the sharing economy expect from Mr. Puzder? Some commentators believe that he will be a “big win” for the gig economy.

The Chicago regional office of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has filed a complaint for unfair labor practices against Postmates, an on-demand delivery service that, according to its website, “connects customers with local couriers who can deliver anything from any store or restaurant in minutes.” The NLRB alleges that Postmates violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by prohibiting delivery workers from discussing the terms and conditions of their supposed “employment,” and by requiring the workers enter into arbitration agreements.

Uber and Lyft – the country’s two largest ride sharing companies – announced yesterday they have suspended services in Austin, Texas, after voters defeated a ballot measure which would have overturned an ordinance requiring fingerprint-based criminal background checks for drivers performing services for any “transportation network company” (a “TNC”).

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