A proposed piece of legislation in Massachusetts has become of concern to many workers in the state for it being a so-called clone of Proposition 22. The legislation exempts companies that offer gig services, those like Lyft or Uber, from classifying their workers as employees.
Drivers in Massachusetts have been rallying at the Massachusetts State House against this bill, because they claim they will not get the rights and benefits that drivers need if it passes. The bill, Massachusetts Bill HD2582, is meant to provide portable benefits for drivers who work through apps.
Is Massachusetts Bill HD2582 really that bad?
According to the executive director of the Boston Independent Drivers Guild, there is a significant restriction of the rights of drivers in this bill, but they are overshadowed by the idea of portable benefits. He compared the bill to Proposition 22, which states that app-based gig companies don’t necessarily need to name their workers as employees, but they should provide some benefits as a way of compromising.
In this bill, the claim is that app-based drivers will be able to retain full control over how they perform their duties, where they go and when they go. As a result, they should be independent contractors, not employees. The portable benefits idea would then create a way for other benefits, like income replacement, to those workers. In the Massachusetts bill, there would also be a requirement for the gig companies to purchase car insurance for the drivers.
Establishing the portable benefits account would then make it possible for the companies to contribute around 4% of the driver’s earnings into the account, based on their earnings in the last quarter.
Workers have proposed an alternative, which is a minimum wage of $20 per hour in addition to state employee benefits and others. For now, Massachusetts Bill HD2582 is not in place, so there are still many people fighting against it, fighting for changes and seeking a different outcome in general.
Any time wage and hour laws are changed in your industry, you should become aware of the changes and how they affect you. Your attorney can go over your rights with you if this bill does pass.