Jan 10, 2017

Upcoming N.Y. bill offers labor compromise for Uber and others

Handy, a New York City-based on-demand service for home services, is pushing for legislation that could create a compromise for contract workers who want employee benefits, according to Bloomberg.

Details: The legislation would allow for companies like itself and Uber to contribute 2.5% of each transaction to fund "portable benefits"—perks like sick leave, which workers can keep independently from their employers.

The upside: This could help alleviate the ongoing tensions between these on-demand companies, and workers and labor advocates.

  • Companies like Uber continue to resist classifying their drivers as employees largely because of the costs of full benefits. This way, workers would still retain the flexibility of being a contract worker, yet get some labor protections.
  • It likely would also allow companies to provide more training and other directives, which has been tricky—too much control over contractors can make for a legal basis for treating them as full employees.

The downside: It would nevertheless require companies to devote a portion of their revenue to these benefits. Ride-hailing and other on-demand services already have rather slim margins, so they'd be forced to either give up some of their revenue, or squeeze it from their workers' cuts.

What's next: New York State Senator Diane Savino plans to introduce the bill this month with the assembly's majority leader. For its part, Handy, which currently faces a lawsuit over its classification of workers as employees, hopes this New York legislation becomes a model for other states and even at the federal level.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 5,626,047 — Total deaths: 351,815 — Total recoveries — 2,314,233Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 1,684,173 — Total deaths: 99,123 — Total recoveries: 384,902 — Total tested: 14,907,041Map.
  3. Public health: Fauci says data is "really quite evident" against hydroxychloroquine — Nearly half of Americans say someone in their household has delayed medical care.
  4. Tech: Zipline drones deliver masks to hospitals; vaccines could be next
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Updated 3 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Live updates: SpaceX to launch historic crewed mission for NASA

The Falcon 9 rocket with a Crew Dragon atop. Photo: SpaceX

SpaceX will attempt to launch NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station today.

Why it matters: If all goes well, this launch — expected to happen at 4:33 p.m. ET — will mark the first time a private company has successfully launched people to orbit and the first crewed, orbital rocket launch from the U.S. in 9 years.

Follow along below for live coverage...

Pompeo tells Congress Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement Wednesday that he has certified to Congress that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China and does not warrant special treatment under U.S. law.

Why it matters: Revoking Hong Kong's special status would hasten its economic and financial decline, already set in motion by China's growing political grip on the city. The preferential status that the U.S. has long granted Hong Kong has made the city a top U.S. trading partner.

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