With official results for the Presidential race still pending, California has passed Proposition 22, an exemption from California employment law that will allow Lyft and Uber to continue classifying workers as independent contractors. It was a closely scrutinized and costly battle. Lyft, Uber, joined by DoorDash, Instacart, and Postmates, put in over $204 million towards a campaign in support of the ballot measure. Labor unions, on the other hand, raised just $16 million, while California Governor Gavin Newsom declined to take a stand either way.
The Proposition won with 58% of the vote. It exempts gig companies from providing the full employment benefits required under state law but will require them to provide an hourly wage equal to 120% of either a local or statewide minimum wage. Uber and Lyft must also provide a stipend for drivers to purchase health insurance. However, work hours only include time spent picking up and driving a rider. It does not account for the time spent waiting in between trips. Drivers for Lyft and Uber will now have fewer rights than they did under AB5, a law passed in 2019 that changes the way companies classify employees. Labor unions state that they will continue to fight for “fair wages, sick pay and care when they’re hurt at work.” Gig Workers Rising, one of several California groups that organizes app-based workers and opposed the initiative, has called the ballot passage a “a loss for our democracy that could open the door to other attempts by corps to write their own laws.”