In the state of New Jersey alone there tens of thousands of individuals who are Uber drivers. There is now a push among Uber drivers around the country to receive the same benefits as payroll employees. This includes workers’ compensation.
Uber Workers Compensation
Worker’s compensation is an insurance program that is mandated by every state. It provides compensations to workers who experience illness and injury resulting from their employment. Each state has its own laws covering what programs are offered in regards to workers’ compensation. With workers’ compensation, a worker will be entitled to benefits even if they were at fault for an accident.
This is a situation that is occurring across the Untied States. In the city of Seattle, an ordinance was passed last year that provided taxi drivers, personal drivers as well as app-service drivers, such as those who work for Uber, the right to unionize. Drivers created a branch called the App-Based Drivers Association (ABDA). Uber drivers around the country are joining as a way to provide a platform for them to get more benefits, tax breaks and other types of legal support.
Illness And Injury
The rates of workers who experience injury and illness resulting from their work as a service driver are very high. Doing this type of work for an extended period of time can cause problems with a person’s back, kidney, leg muscles and result in other forms physical injuries. Many drivers and legal experts believe service drivers deserve to have protections in place for such injuries.
Employers And Independent Contractors
There is currently no federal law that requires employers to provide independent contractors with benefits such as health, retirement, social security or workers’ compensation benefits. Uber drivers can still obtain these benefits on their own. Some lawmakers are viewing companies who use freelancers as exploiting them when it comes to benefits and pay.
It’s important for Uber drivers to realize they may not have workers’ compensation benefits but, they can still able pursue compensation from Uber for a workplace event. Depending on the circumstances, an Uber driver may have a very strong claim for compensation from the company.
Some driving insurance benefits are provided by Uber. They are based on being on a trip or between trips. A driver has $1 million in primary liability coverage. This coverage is for each incident when a driver is driving with passengers. A driver can get $1 million of uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage. There is also $50,00 in collision and comprehensive coverage. When a driver is between trips, a 3rd party liability policy is available. It is equal to or exceeds the insurance requirement for most states.
The struggle with getting Uber drivers workers’ compensation is that they don’t easily fit into the category of employee or independent contractor. Should Uber provide more benefits, they would need to take a larger portion of the fairs their drivers receive. If they were categorized as employees, drivers might be able to drive more hours, but they would lose the flexibility when it comes to their driving schedule and more. Uber drivers would have to answer to a supervisor, as well as follow company rules and regulations.
Social Safety Net
Many labor experts agree the social safety network in the United States designed to protect different types of workers is outdated. Some have suggested a new category of worker be created to cover employment situations such as Uber. Other countries such as Canada and Germany have written new laws to cover the needs of workers who have a situation such as Uber drivers. In these situations, workers are given certain guaranteed benefits and give up the right to sue their employer for damage and injuries resulting from an accident.
Learn more about Worker’s Compensation.