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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.

Go deeper

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.

Obama stumps for McAuliffe, urges Virginians not "to go back to the chaos"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama framed a Nov. 2 gubernatorial race as a bellwether for the Democratic Party and the country, telling a crowd at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe on Saturday that "I believe you, right here in Virginia, are going to show the rest of the country and the world that we're not going to indulge in our worst instincts."

Why it matters: With just over a week to go before Election Day in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe is bringing out the big guns. The 44th president appeared on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to urge supporters to get to the polls.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Axios AM Deep Dive: America’s murder surge

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Homicides rose at the fastest rate in at least six decades last year. This Axios AM Deep Dive, led by Future correspondent Bryan Walsh, looks at the state of gun crime.