Minnesota lawmakers have proposed a new bill that would improve labor standards and increase injury protections for a number of employees in the transportation and delivery industry, like Uber, Lyft and DoorDash.
As we’ve talked about on the blog in the past, rideshare and certain delivery drivers are classified as independent contractors, meaning that they have to pay for their own transportation upkeep and are typically ineligible for workers’ compensation through their company in the event that they are injured while performing duties for the company. Minnesota lawmakers are looking to change that system with SF2319, which would bring about a number of significant changes that we’ll outline below. SF 2319 would require these companies to:
- Pay drivers for fuel and car maintenance (41 cents per mile).
- Provide insurance similar to that of workers’ compensation.
- Pay drivers a minimum rate for each fare or cancellation.
Additionally, these transportation network companies could not drop workers from their apps without reason or without an opportunity to appeal.
“Minnesota has long assured its workers a safe and fair workplace,” said Sen. Omar Fatek, the chief author of the bill, in a Senate Labor Committee hearing last Tuesday. “Over the last decade, a new industry has come into our state that circumvents nearly every one of these protections: that is (transportation network companies), most prominently Uber and Lyft.”
Independent Contractor Issues
Currently, these transportation network companies like Uber and DoorDash classify their drivers as independent contractors, meaning that among other things, they don’t need to pay a minimum wage, overtime, Social Security, unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation benefits. These companies believe this model helps to ensure cheaper rates for the customers, and in a statement to the Senate Labor Committee, they said that prices will jump if this model is disrupted.
“It stands to reason that with the steep increase in costs, demand will naturally decrease in lower-income communities, leading to decreased transportation options and food access in less dense/less well-connected areas,” reads part of the statement from Uber Technologies. “SF 2319 would make Minneapolis the most expensive city for rideshare and app-based food delivery in the entire country.
Uber has spent hundreds of millions of dollars fighting a similar proposed change in California, so even if SF 2319 makes it all the way to the Governor’s desk, don’t expect this fight to end anytime soon. We hope that rideshare and delivery drivers get the injury compensation protections they deserve, but changes are unlikely to happen in the near future. We’ll be more than happy to have a conversation with you about your compensation options, especially if another driver’s negligence caused your injuries, but it will likely be through a personal injury lawsuit, not a workers’ compensation claim, at least for now.
For more information, or for help with your injury claim, reach out to the team at Hey Workers today at (844) 439-9675.