Minnesota Passes Bill Seeking to Ensure Minimum Wage for Gig Workers

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

The slender 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 known as gig staff as a result of they’re handled as unbiased contractors, which means they’re accountable for their very own bills and are usually not assured a minimal wage, well being care or different advantages.

The last invoice would require Uber and Lyft to pay their drivers at the very least $1.45 per mile they drive a passenger — or $1.34 per mile exterior the Minneapolis-St. Paul area — in addition to $0.34 per minute. It additionally establishes an appeals course of by way of which drivers can request a assessment 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 grow to be a protracted, multistate battle over the rights of gig drivers and their standing within the economic system. Uber and Lyft have lengthy argued that their drivers are unbiased contractors fairly than staff. They say that drivers choose being contractors as a result of it permits them the flexibleness to select once 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 unbiased although the ride-hailing providers exert important management over their work.

The federal authorities has largely averted weighing in on the talk, and the US Department of Labor has not sued or focused Uber or Lyft for misclassifying staff. Instead, the difficulty 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 analogous, 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 staff 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 firms 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 cut back service in Minnesota — a menace it has made prior to now in different states.

“If this invoice have been to move, we might sadly haven’t any alternative however to vastly cut back service all through the state, and presumably 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 “trip share into an costly luxurious.”

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