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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

As it fights for an upcoming ballot measure to exempt it from a California law that could force it to classify drivers as employees, Uber argues that not only are "full-time" drivers a small minority of its total drivers, but also that they are responsible for just a quarter of all trips in the state.

Why it matters: If that ballot measure, known as Proposition 22, fails in November, ride-hailing and delivery companies will be forced to reclassify their drivers as employees.

What they're saying: "In the fourth quarter of 2019... the 9% of 'full-time' California drivers who averaged at least 40 hours online on Uber completed just 25% of trips.... the 74% of drivers who are online an average of 25 hours or less are responsible for a far higher amount of work using the app, doing 42% of trips.," Uber senior economist Libby Mishkin writes in a blog post.

  • Uber also claims that this trend is even more pronounced outside of major cities.
  • In San Francisco and Los Angeles, 11% of drivers work at least 40 hours per week on average, completing 27% of all trips. In Sacramento, only 3% of drivers work full-time, and they account for only 11% of trips.

Yes, but: Uber's data is based on all hours spent with the app turned on, including while a driver is waiting idle to get a new ride request, and while driving to and from a ride.

  • However, drivers are only paid while they're giving a ride, so they often spend more time online than they do earning money.

Uber's data also shows that roughly 58% of rides are by drivers who are online at least 25 hours a week (including those driving over 40 hours).

  • A spokesman tells Axios that "25 hours would be the equivalent to part time work which under our current employment system does not generally translate to the benefits of full time employees." However, some of these drivers might be working for other gig economy services for additional earnings.

The bottom line: This fight is coming down to the wire for Uber and its peers, who recently contributed an additional $70 million to their ballot campaign. The campaign donated $2 million to California's GOP.

Go deeper: Uber, Lyft win delay on court order forcing driver reclassification

Go deeper

California fines Uber $59 million over sexual assault data

Photo: Liu Guanguan/China News Service via Getty Images

A judge ordered Uber on Monday to pay a $59 million fine to California’s Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and threatened to suspend its state permit to operate if the firm fails to do so within 30 days.

The big picture: The judge found the ride-hailing giant had failed to share data with the regulator following Uber's safety report last year, which revealed that U.S. users reported nearly 6,000 incidents of sexual assault and harassment on trips made in 2017 and 2018.

44 mins ago - World

Putin foe Navalny to be detained for 30 days after returning to Moscow

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. Photo: Oleg Nikishin/Epsilon/Getty Images

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has been ordered to remain in pre-trial detention for 30 days, following his arrest upon returning to Russia on Sunday for the first time since a failed assassination attempt last year.

Why it matters: The detention of Navalny, an anti-corruption activist and the most prominent domestic critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has already set off a chorus of condemnations from leaders in Europe and the U.S.

Biden picks Warren allies to lead SEC, CFPB

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has selected FTC commissioner Rohit Chopra to be the next director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Obama-era Wall Street regulator Gary Gensler to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Why it matters: Both picks are progressive allies of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and viewed as likely to take aggressive steps to regulate big business.

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