Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. Photo: Scott Heins/Getty Images)

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi called for establishing "benefits funds" for gig workers in a New York Times op-ed out Monday.

Why it matters: Gig workers, who remain independent contractors and not employees, have long pushed companies like Uber for benefits comparable to those received by traditional workers. The coronavirus pandemic and its resultant economic strain has broadened those calls.

  • His plan would "give workers cash that they can use for the benefits they want, like health insurance or paid time off. Independent workers in any state that passes this law could take money out for every hour of work they put in."
  • He said that such a model would provide flexibility to allow gig workers to put money toward a benefit of their choosing — noting, for example, that many Uber drivers don't put health care near the top of their list of desired benefits as they often obtain it via a family member or the Affordable Care Act.

What he's saying: Khosrowshahi argued that Uber's drivers should not be treated like employees, because such a move would hurt the flexibility of their working hours and the company "would only have full-time jobs for a small fraction of our current drivers and only be able to operate in many fewer cities than today."

The big picture: This is not a new idea for the company, which has long proposed the idea of "portable benefits" as a compromise against classifying its drivers as employees.

  • It comes as Uber, along with other gig services, are trying to get a ballot measure passed in California this fall that would exempt them from a state law requiring that shift.

Worth noting: He also called on states to do more, saying they "should require all gig companies to provide medical and disability coverage for injuries incurred on the job."

  • "We also need new laws that prevent companies from denying independent workers opportunities based on their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or any other protected characteristic."

Go deeper

Millions start new businesses in time of coronavirus

The pandemic closed hundreds of thousands of U.S. businesses. But now applications for new businesses are rising at the fastest rate since 2007, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: "Applications for the employer identification numbers that entrepreneurs need to start a business have passed 3.2 million so far this year, compared with 2.7 million at the same point in 2019," according to the Census Bureau.

Updated 14 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 32,881,747 — Total deaths: 994,821 — Total recoveries: 22,758,171Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 7,079,909 — Total deaths: 204,503 — Total recoveries: 2,750,459 — Total tests: 100,492,536Map.
  3. States: New York daily cases top 1,000 for first time since June — U.S. reports over 55,000 new coronavirus cases.
  4. Health: The long-term pain of the mental health pandemicFewer than 10% of Americans have coronavirus antibodies.
  5. Business: Millions start new businesses in time of coronavirus.
  6. Education: Summer college enrollment offers a glimpse of COVID-19's effect.

Durbin on Barrett confirmation: "We can’t stop the outcome"

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that Senate Democrats can “slow” the process of confirming Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett “perhaps a matter of hours, maybe days at the most," but that they "can’t stop the outcome."

Why it matters: Durbin confirmed that Democrats have "no procedural silver bullet" to stop Senate Republicans from confirming Barrett before the election, especially with only two GOP senators — Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine — voicing their opposition. Instead, Democrats will likely look to retaliate after the election if they win control of the Senate and White House.

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