3. Gig companies know plenty about having employees
Gig-economy companies have long argued that their workers place high value on the freedom to choose their own hours. But many of these firms either used to schedule workers for shifts — or still do, to some extent, Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva reports.
Why it matters: The companies are fighting efforts to force them to reclassify workers as employees, arguing that a rigid work model is incompatible with their operations.
The state of play: Grocery delivery company Instacart currently has part-time employees in a number of markets across the country, who focus on assembling orders inside stores, a practice it first introduced in 2015.
- Nevertheless, the company also has what it calls "full-service shoppers," who assemble orders inside a store and also deliver them to customers. These workers are currently independent contractors who can work whenever they choose (within grocery store hours, of course).
Some other delivery companies, such as Doordash and GrubHub, have shift systems for drivers in many or all their markets.
- Their work schedules are more flexible than those of many hourly employees. But the practice shows that delivery companies, whose operations are largely shaped by the schedules of restaurants, aren't strangers to arranging their workforces into schedules and predicting staffing needs.
- Even Lyft has some experience with this from its earliest days, when drivers would sign up for shifts and be guaranteed a certain level of hourly earnings.
Similarly, both Uber and Lyft instituted forms of short shifts and staffing prioritizations for drivers in New York City last year to comply with a new set of rules. (These practices have been suspended during the pandemic given low ride demand.)
Be smart: There are other big reasons gig economy companies don't want to take on their drivers and delivery people as regular employees: That would require the employers to provide benefits, pay overtime, and pay their half of the Social Security payroll tax.