Today’s News & Commentary — November 29, 2016

The Washington D.C. City Council is expected to pass the nation’s most generous family leave law. Under the law, full-time and part-time workers could draw up to 90% of their pay from a government account, limited to $1000 per week. The cost will be borne entirely by employers as the benefit would be funded through a payroll tax raise on businesses of every size.

Joseph Morelle, the number two Democrat in the New York State Assembly, plans to introduce legislation next year that would allow portable benefits for gig economy workers. The bill, which would be the first of its kind nationwide, requires participating employers to contribute at least 2.5 percent of the fee for each job to a flexible individual account for the workers. It would also classify workers at participating employers as independent contractors under state law.

The European Union’s Court of Justice, its highest court, heard oral arguments today on whether Uber is a transportation service or digital platform. If the company is categorized as a transportation service, it must comply with all local rules governing such companies. The company argued that “[t]he reduction of unnecessary barriers to information society services is critical in the development of the digital single market,” and that national transportation laws were outdated. Regulators argued that Uber’s business model flouted existing laws and undermined the rights of consumers and workers alike. The decision, not expected until March at the earliest, is expected to have significant effects on other gig economy players operating in the region.