Lawmakers in California have passed a landmark bill that would make it much more difficult for companies such as Uber and Lyft to classify workers as independent contractors rather than employees.
The bill, which paves the way for workers in the so-called gig economy to get holiday and sick pay, has garnered attention across the US and beyond, largely owing to the size of California’s workforce.
Dozens of drivers for Uber and Lyft attempted to shut down streets in San Francisco on Tuesday, demanding the right to form a union and calling on state governments to pass a new bill supporting gig worker rights.
Lyft and Uber drivers from across California came in a 70-plus caravan to speak out in favor of Assembly Bill 5, known as AB5. Lyft and Uber have spoken against AB5, which would classify drivers as employees and enact basic worker protections.
The state assembly in California passed legislation on Wednesday that would require employers to recognize hundreds of thousands of gig workers as employees and could have far-reaching implications for contractors across the US.
In a win for labor advocates, Bill 5 passed 53-11 in the assembly and will now move to the senate. If signed by the governor, the legislation would put into action a decision made by the California state supreme court in May 2018 known as Dynamex, which uses a three-part test to determine if contractors qualify as employees entitled to protections and benefits.
Several big-name tech companies are set to enter the public market, and the speculation over the effects of a crush of overnight millionaires overwhelming the region has reached fever pitch.
Lyft has officially kicked off the roadshow for its initial public offering, saying Monday it plans to put more than 30m shares up for sale with an anticipated price of between $62 and $68 each.
Lyft’s announcement this week that the ride-hailing company is donating $700,000 to expand transportation options in Oakland’s low-income neighborhoods was hailed by Oakland’s mayor, Libby Schaaf, as a way of “undoing the wrongs of the past”.