The California Senate passed a bill that could force Uber and other gig economy giants to reclassify their workers as employees. Such a change would secure labor protections for thousands of people across the state and deal a significant blow to companies that built multi-billion dollar businesses on independent contractors.
Under the new law, Assembly Bill 5, people in California could generally only be considered contractors if the work they’re doing is outside the usual course of a company’s business. Companies like Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc., which rely on armies of drivers to service their customers, would likely fail that test without transforming how they do business. Employees are entitled to a minimum wage and overtime pay, neither of which is a common protection within the gig economy.