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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.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
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.

DOJ watchdog to probe whether officials sought to alter election results

Former President Donald Trump and former First Lady Melania Trump exit Air Force One in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Jan. 20. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

The Justice Department's inspector general will investigate whether any current or former DOJ officials "engaged in an improper attempt to have DOJ seek to alter the outcome" of the 2020 election, the agency announced Monday.

Driving the news: The investigation comes in the wake of a New York Times report that alleged that Jeffrey Clark, the head of DOJ's civil division, had plotted with President Trump to oust acting Attorney General Jeffery Rosen in a scheme to overturn the election results in Georgia.

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