Californians were given an opportunity to vote on a wide range of ballot measures this election season that would impact their futures, including one that would determine working conditions for countless rideshare drivers across the state. 58% of voters ended up passing Prop 22, which will allow gig economy companies like Uber and Lyft to classify their drivers as independent contractors instead of company employees. What does this mean for the future of app-based workers and their ability to get workers’ compensation benefits?
What Prop 22 Entails
Prop 22, or the Protect App-Based Drivers and Services Act, classifies workers as independent contractors and not employees. Specifically, the measure would exempt these companies from AB5, a 2019 labor law that gave gig workers employee protections. Major tech companies like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart sunk more than $200 million into the ballot measure, making it the costliest measure in California’s history.
Their marketing, many labor activists say, confused millions of voters into thinking that passing the act would protect workers and give them more freedom to determine their hours and conditions. The measure is considered a loss for millions of workers and their basic rights.
"Billionaire [corporations] just hijacked the ballot measure system in CA by spending millions to mislead voters," a coalition of gig workers opposing Prop 22 said on Twitter. "Uber, Lyft, & the other gig [companies] took a ballot measure system meant to give voice to ordinary Californians and made it benefit the richest [corporations] on the planet.”
Drivers and labor groups have claimed that rideshare app companies like Uber and Lyft have exploited drivers for years and have made billions of dollars by denying drivers fair wages and benefits. These opponents include driver groups like Mobile Workers United, Gig Workers Rising, and Rideshare Drivers United, as well as President-elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
As independent contractors, app-based drivers will no longer be granted the following benefits:
- Minimum wage
- Paid sick leave
- Unemployment insurance
- Workers’ compensation
This means that while all California employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for employees, injured workers won’t be able to access these much-needed benefits because they’re not considered employees. Unfortunately, the passing of this law could influence a similar outcome for drivers in other states in future elections.
What Happens Now?
Rideshare drivers won’t be provided health insurance, but they will get stipends toward insurance. Because overturning this measure in the future would require a 7/8 supermajority in the California legislature, it’s unlikely this law will be changing anytime soon.
If you were injured as a rideshare driver, you most likely will not be able to obtain workers’ comp benefits as an independent contractor. However, it’s still in your best interests to call us for a free consultation regarding your accident. We can learn more about your unique situation and help you determine your options for recovery.
We Defend Our California Workers
All California employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. At Leigh Law Firm, our team has a deep understanding of our state’s laws, including those concerning workers. Our own attorney, Alexander J. Leigh, has represented injured employees and professional athletes for years, and has even worked with the NFL. Born and raised in Los Angeles, our attorney is a California local who is committed to helping everyday individuals overcome their obstacles and work towards a better future for themselves and their families. You can trust us to fight for your rights during a turbulent time.
Contact our workers’ compensation attorney online or by phone at (619) 473-7569 for a free consultation if you’ve been injured on the job. We’re happy to educate you on your rights and help you get the maximum workers’ comp benefits you deserve.