Last night, California voters approved Proposition 22, a ballot measure that now allows app-based drivers to remain as independent contractors, not employees. The passage of Proposition 22 does not just represent a win for California workers, who can now continue to earn income in an employment structure they overwhelmingly favor, but it also represents a win for consumers who will continue to be able to access affordable transport in both urban and rural communities.
App-based drivers are undoubtedly the biggest winners from Prop 22. Not only do app-based drivers now get “a new minimum earnings guarantee tied to 120 percent of the minimum wage” that could see drivers earn between $25.61 to $27.58 per hour after expenses, but they now enjoy the right to a health care subsidy, a per mileage compensation, and “insurance coverage on the job injuries.” These are significant steps for app-based drivers who previously earned on average $11 before expenses with no health subsidy or the prospect of worker’s compensation.
Consumers will also benefit from the passage of Proposition 22. Not only does it keep app-based drivers on the road, but drivers are now required to carry “automobile liability insurance…to compensate third parties for injuries or losses,” develop a “sexual harassment policy intended to protect…members of the public” and participate in safety training to develop “collision avoidance and defensive driving techniques.”
In addition, companies are now also required to run “criminal background check on drivers” and institute “zero-tolerance policies for drug and alcohol-related offenses.” The requirements of proposition 22 mean that when consumers get into ride-share apps, they have the peace of mind they will get to their destination safely.
For California’s app-based drivers and consumers, the passage of Proposition 22 is a win and should serve to highlight the importance of preserving the employment structure of independent contract labor.