How Uber Drivers’ Rights Will Change with NY’s Proposed Law?
The New York State Assembly is beginning a new session soon and when it does, it will revisit the issue introduced by Assembly Bill 6090: expanding ridesharing services currently available in New York City to other areas throughout the state.
Criticisms of the proposed legislation include its lack of protections for drivers and passengers. The bill would not require companies like Uber and Lyft to follow the same rules that other transportation companies must follow, which can potentially prevent disabled passengers from using the services. The bill would also have drivers listed as independent contractors, rather than employees of their companies, which would mean that they cannot enjoy benefits like unemployment insurance or Workers’ Compensation.
How is an Uber Driver Different from a Taxi Driver?
Legally, there are a few differences between an Uber driver and a taxi driver. The primary difference is that taxi drivers are employees of their companies, whereas rideshare drivers are treated as independent contractors. Taxi drivers enjoy the protections that come with full-time employment, such as minimum wage protection and payroll withholdings. Their vehicles are also company property, rather than private property, which means that their companies must pay for their repairs and maintenance.
Taxi drivers are covered by their employers’ automobile insurance policies. Rideshare drivers are covered by their companies’ insurance policies as well – to a point. When a rideshare is not in service, the driver is covered only by his or her personal policy.
The Fight to Expand Uber Beyond New York City’s Borders
Over the past year, Uber has fought to influence New York lawmakers to alter current laws to allow it and other rideshare companies to expand into new cities and counties across the state. Two priority areas for these companies are Rochester and Buffalo. One prominent point of this proposed change to legislation is to raise rideshare drivers’ insurance limits.
On the other side of this debate is, predictably, the insurance providers. The state Trial Lawyers Association is lobbying for rideshare drivers to be required to carry $100,000 in coverage for injury claims per person and $300,000 in coverage for the total number of claims per accident as they wait to pick up passengers. The state senate and governor are publicly in favor of lower limits: $50,000 and $100,000, respectively.
Currently, Uber and Lyft operate in New York City under the laws that govern its taxi drivers. Other issues to be considered with the coming ridesharing bill are whether sales tax will be applied to rides purchased through these companies and background checks for drivers. new york
Work with an Experienced New York City Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you are an Uber driver, a taxi driver, or an individual considering this career path seeking information about your rights in either, speak with an experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer in NYC. Contact The Robert A. Koenigsberg Law Office today to schedule your initial consultation with a member of our firm.