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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

Lyft touts California ballot victory amid mixed Q3 results

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Lyft posted a much larger loss than analysts expected, though it beat revenue estimates, in its third quarter results reported Tuesday. But on a call with analysts, the company pointed to its recent legislative victory in California and the potential it sees in expanding its foray into delivery as signs of better times ahead.

Why it matters A week ago, Lyft and other gig companies got California voters to back a ballot proposal that cements their drivers' status as independent contractors, which is central to the companies' business models.

Nov 10, 2020 - Economy & Business

The business case for child care

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the inextricable link between child care and the economy — and it's pushing businesses to confront the cost of working parents' unpaid side gig.

The big picture: Child care is denting the workforce, preventing a huge swath of Americans from contributing to their firms and to the economy at large. To chip away at the problem, and protect their bottom lines, employers are bulking up child care benefits for workers.

2021 economy boomed at fastest rate in 37 years

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

The U.S. economy surged ahead with a 6.9% annual growth rate in the final months of 2021 and achieved the strongest growth over an entire calendar year since 1984.

Driving the news: New GDP numbers from the Commerce Department show a remarkable acceleration in economic activity, much faster than the 5.3% growth rate analysts expected.

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