New York State Grants Unemployment Benefits To Two Former Uber And Lyft Drivers

Image courtesy of Uber

The decision to grant unemployment benefits to two former drivers for ride-hailing apps Uber and Lyft is an interesting one, since it means that yet another government agency has concluded that “gig economy” workers were treated like employees and should be considered as such…at least for the purpose of getting some income while they aren’t driving.

“Uber has depended on the political structure turning a blind eye,” the executive driver of the Taxi Drivers Alliance told the New York Times. As ride-hailing grows, so does the population of drivers who complain that working for the apps meant that they were told where to go and when.

However, a spokeswoman or the Department of Labor points out that New York has decided individual cases both ways, depending on their individual merit and circumstances. A few cases have decided in favor of former drivers in California but that doesn’t have much of an effect on class actions in that state meant to gain “employee” status for drivers.

Other laws concerning ride drivers (or not) might include minimum wage and overtime exemptions, assuming that the company is still not considered a livery company or an employer, but simply an app that collects riders’ personal information on one end and distributes passengers to its drivers on the other.

Uber Drivers Ruled Eligible for Jobless Payments in New York State [New York Times]