State lawmakers next year are expected to debate legislation meant to provide new protections to workers who are in the so-called “gig economy.”
Think the people who drive Ubers and Lyfts, the Door Dash delivery folks and the permanent freelancers who provide on-demand services through apps.
These workers don’t have the same labor protections people in traditional jobs have, like access to employer-based health care, retirement benefits and other guarantees that have become a staple of post-World War II jobs.
The New York AFL-CIO this week endorsed new protections for this growing class of worker in the economy and legislation was previously adopted by California over the objections of tech companies that are major players.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, too, has signaled he is open to laying down new standards for gig economy workers, who are more formally referred to as independent contractors.
In testimony to a legislative panel this week, The Business Council also acknowledged change is needed to accommodate the independent contractor workforce.
“It is important that state and federal labor laws change and adapt in response to the new realities of the nature of work and the desires of workers,” said the business lobby’s vice president, Ken Pokalsky.
The Business Council urged lawmakers to take a nuanced approach, however, on key issues like overtime, workers compensation, collective bargaining and unemployment insurance.
“Any efforts by New York to address the independent worker issue needs to be looked at through the prism of how this will affect New York’s general business climate,” he said.
“Any unilateral action will set New York apart from surrounding states and could hamper our business competitiveness. Major changes to law that create an employer-employee relationship between third-party intermediaries like Uber, Lyft, Instacart, Wag, etc. could result in these companies limiting their services in, or withdrawing their services, from New York – making New York a less desirable as a location for business expansion and job growth.”