The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has unveiled a Final Rule aimed at clarifying worker classification under the Fair Labor Standards Act. CR Wooters, Head of Federal Affairs, released a statement on behalf of Uber, addressing the impact of this rule on its operations and workforce.
Uber’s Position on the New Rule
According to Wooters, this new rule will not significantly alter the existing legal framework under which Uber operates. More importantly, it does not affect the status of over one million Americans using the Uber platform to earn income flexibly.
Driver Independence: A Core Consideration
Uber emphasizes that driver independence is a critical aspect valued by their workforce. Feedback from drivers, including comments on the new rule and various surveys, consistently shows a preference for maintaining their independent status and valuing its flexibility.
Key Points of the DOL Rule
- Absence of ‘ABC Test’: The rule does not adopt the ‘ABC test’ for worker classification, a framework used in some states.
- 60-Day Implementation Window: There will be a 60-day period before the rule takes effect.
- Focus on Traditional Industries: DOL officials have indicated that the rule targets misclassification in traditional industries, suggesting it may not lead to significant changes for companies like Uber.
Uber’s Advocacy for Flexibility and Benefits
Small Business Deals
Uber reiterates its commitment to advocating for a dual model that offers drivers both flexibility and benefits. This approach is reflected in several initiatives:
- Prop 22 in California: Approved by voters, this proposition ensures independent status for drivers while providing benefits like a minimum earnings standard and healthcare stipends.
- WA HB 2076 in Washington State: A collaborative effort resulting in a bill that offers a minimum wage and paid leave, maintaining drivers’ independent status.
- Agreement in New York State: A landmark agreement with New York’s Attorney General that guarantees drivers’ independent status and new benefits like paid sick leave.
Uber’s response to the DOL’s new worker classification rule highlights the company’s ongoing effort to balance driver independence with access to benefits. As the rule is implemented, Uber plans to continue working with the Biden administration and state legislators to develop models that support this balance.