Minnesota Passes Bill Seeking to Ensure Minimum Wage for Gig Workers

The Minnesota Senate handed a invoice on Sunday that may assure drivers for Uber and Lyft a minimal wage and different advantages, sending the measure to Gov. Tim Walz.

The slim passage, a 35-32 vote after an earlier 69 to 61 approval from the state’s House of Representatives, capped a dramatic week of political maneuvering so the invoice would clear the legislature earlier than the session ends on Monday. Drivers for Uber and Lyft are often called gig employees as a result of they’re handled as impartial contractors, which means they’re accountable for their very own bills and will not be assured a minimal wage, well being care or different advantages.

The closing invoice would require Uber and Lyft to pay their drivers a minimum of $1.45 per mile they drive a passenger — or $1.34 per mile outdoors the Minneapolis-St. Paul area — in addition to $0.34 per minute. It additionally establishes an appeals course of by means of which drivers can request a evaluate in the event that they really feel they’ve been improperly deactivated from the platforms, and requires extra transparency round how drivers’ earnings are calculated.

The invoice is a uncommon win for labor advocates in what has develop into a protracted, multistate battle over the rights of gig drivers and their standing within the financial system. Uber and Lyft have lengthy argued that their drivers are impartial contractors relatively than staff. They say that drivers desire being contractors as a result of it permits them the pliability to select after they work, and plenty of drivers work solely part-time.

But labor advocates contend that drivers are exploited by the businesses and are being misclassified as impartial though the ride-hailing companies exert vital management over their work.

The federal authorities has largely averted weighing in on the controversy, and the US Department of Labor has not sued or focused Uber or Lyft for misclassifying employees. Instead, the problem has performed out in state courts and legislatures and on poll measures.

New York City and Seattle have handed legal guidelines guaranteeing minimal wages for gig drivers, whereas the businesses have prevailed in getting their most well-liked guidelines on the books in California and the remainder of Washington state. Both states enacted legal guidelines that assure drivers some advantages, like a minimal wage, but additionally preclude them from changing into staff. An identical, company-backed effort was thrown out by judges in Massachusetts final yr.

Senator Omar Fateh, one of many invoice’s authors, cheered its passage. “These employees deserve a livable wage to present for themselves and their households.”

Uber and Lyft have criticized the Minnesota invoice, arguing that it raises wages too excessive, and that the deactivation appeals course of would restrict their capacity to bar drivers who’ve been accused of misconduct. The corporations say the additional prices could be handed on to riders, forcing them to pay extra, and so they have as a substitute proposed a assure of $1.17 per mile, in addition to $0.34 per minute. Uber has mentioned it may scale back service in Minnesota — a risk it has made up to now in different states.

“If this invoice had been to go, we might sadly haven’t any selection however to drastically scale back service all through the state, and probably shut down operations fully,” Uber mentioned in a message to its Minnesota prospects.

Lyft warned its prospects that their fares may greater than double if the invoice is enacted, turning “journey share into an costly luxurious.”

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