Last year, California enacted legislation that could force app-based companies to make anyone who works on their platforms employees. The law has already created confusion and unintended consequences for dozens of industries. Meanwhile, New York has proven there is a better path forward for the popular, new, flexible mode of working, while also providing workers real protections and benefits: By expanding on the model of the Black Car Fund (BCF), the state can take a significant step toward improving outdated, century-old labor laws.

California’s new law has resulted in independent musicians being warned they’ll no longer be able to record in many studios and truck drivers learning their pay could plummet. In December, Vox announced it would lay off 200 freelance journalists in an effort to comply with the law.

Meanwhile, a federal lawsuit filed by Uber and Postmates claims the law is unconstitutional, citing, among other things, “a list of exemptions that carve out of the statutory scope dozens of occupations… There is no rhyme or reason to these nonsensical exemptions, and some are so ill-defined or entirely undefined that it is impossible to discern what they include or exclude.”

Despite the issues California’s legislation has already created, some New York legislators seem interested in passing a similar law. Not only would requiring gig workers in New York to become employees reduce their flexibility and eliminate possibilities for thousands of people who value their independence, but it’s not even clear it would lead to better work conditions, with more benefits for more people. Instead of going down the same path as California, New York lawmakers could build on the existing system created by the BCF, which already gives many “gig” workers support without forcing them to give up their flexibility.

For decades the Fund was limited in the kinds of services it could provide, but legislation signed by Gov. Cuomo in December allows the organization to offer a broader range of protections and benefits, including health care. Through a small fee paid on each trip, the Fund provides workers compensation, vision care, telemedicine, mental health care, wellness services and much more. The Fund is already working on new benefits for its members, which will be unveiled and instituted in 2020 and beyond.

Source:The Daily News

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