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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has proposed rule changes that would make it possible for gig companies to give equity to their workers as part of their compensation if they meet certain requirements.

Why it matters: This is something gig companies including Uber and Airbnb have asked the SEC to do over the years as a way to share their companies' upside with these non-employees.

Details: The five-year pilot program would allow gig companies to issue equity as long as it's no more than 15% of a worker's compensation during a 12-month period, and no more than $75,000 in value during a 36-month period (based on the share price when it's issued).

  • Individuals cannot negotiate whether they want equity or cash in exchange for their services.
  • The company has to reasonably try to prevent gig workers from reselling the equity.
  • These requirements also apply to public companies, except for the prohibition on stock reselling.
  • Between the lines: While the document doesn't mention home-sharing hosts (like those on Airbnb), it does specify that marketplaces for the permanent sale of real estate, "as opposed to the temporary rental of real estate," would not qualify. Airbnb, which is in its pre-IPO quiet period, declined to comment.

Yes, but: Commissioners Allison Lee and Caroline Crenshaw opposed the proposal in a joint statement, arguing that the commission is making this exception for gig companies but not for other alternative workers such as freelancers, temporary help agency workers, and on-call workers despite mentioning them in its discussion of the modern work landscape.

What's next: The proposal is open to public comment for the next 60 days, after which the SEC will assess whether to move forward.

Go deeper

Instacart to provide $25 stipend to shoppers who get COVID-19 vaccine

Illustration: Sarah Grillo

Grocery delivery company Instacart says it will provide a $25 stipend to its workers who take time off to get vaccinated for COVID-19 in the U.S. and Canada starting on February.

Why it matters: Some companies in retail and services are beginning to announce incentives to get their workforces vaccinated sooner rather than later — both for the workers' safety and the companies' own bottom lines.

VA first federal agency to require COVID vaccines for employees

A medical doctor gives the thumbs-up sign to a COVID-19 patient who is no longer using a respirator at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in New York City. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

The Department of Veterans Affairs said Monday it would require its frontline health care workers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus within the next two months, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The VA is the first federal agency to mandate that employees receive the vaccine. The decision comes as cases of the Delta variant in the U.S. have increased dramatically.

3 hours ago - Health

Biden: Americans with long-COVID symptoms may qualify for disability resources

President Biden speaking in Arlington, Virginia, on July 23. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Americans experiencing long-term symptoms of COVID-19 may qualify for disability resources from the federal government, President Biden announced Monday during an event to mark the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Driving the news: The departments of Justice and Health and Human Services released new guidance Monday that categorizes “long COVID" as a physical or mental impairment, entitling people with the illness to discrimination protections under the the ADA.