California approves Prop. 22, exempting Uber and Lyft from classifying drivers as employees

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The ongoing saga between the ridesharing services in the state of California and its drivers has taken another significant turn. This as California voters chose to approve Proposition 22, which exempts Uber, Lyft and DoorDash from classifying its drivers as employees.

As The Verge points out, the law makes allowances for certain aspects of the gig worker’s job, such as minimum hourly earnings, but it crucially will not afford them the full protections that an employee would receive.

Following the approval, Uber in particular was pleased with the outcome, issuing a statement to its users in the region, which saw an estimated $200 million in terms of lobbying for support of Proposition 22.

As the tweet above explains, there are a number of changes coming to Uber drivers in the coming months, but only in the United States. The company has also been promoting the message that this is actually want drivers want, with the “flexibility” and “independence” that comes with being a gig economy worker being the key element here.

Whether that is indeed the case is unclear, especially as drivers, including those in South Africa, have long voiced their frustration over how they have been classified by platforms like Uber.

What should be interesting to see play out in coming months too, is how this decision impacts how Uber deals with similar situations across the globe. In California for example, Uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi threatened to remove the service from operating in the state should it be forced to reclassify its drivers.

It looks like the threat and $200 million campaign worked as designed, and while there are some benefits on the horizon, it is not the ideal outcome that drivers have been pushing for.

As such, the nature of the gig economy and the rights of those who work within it, remain significant issues that need to be tackled.

[Image – Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash]

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.