Lyft and Uber shutting down California? A state law is causing chaos

On August 10, a California judge told ride-sharing companies that starting on August 21, they must comply with a law forcing them to recognize drivers as employees. The problem, Uber and Lyft say, is that an overhaul of their existing workforce models, where drivers are currently classified as independent contractors rather than employees, is unlikely to happen within that timeframe. result? Uber and Lyft threaten to shut down service in California starting at midnight.

It was complicated, but that's no longer the case. As the deadline loomed, Uber and Lyft appealed to the courts on August 13 after being denied a 10-day extension by a judge to avoid a total shutdown. The companies appear ready to suspend service in California, and Californians are getting ready for driverless cars. Then, on August 20, the California Court of Appeals put a stay on that court order, allowing the ride-sharing company to continue serving the state while the appeal moves through the court system. Currently, Uber and Lyft are not shutting down service in the state.

"We are pleased that the Court of Appeal recognized the important issues raised in this case and that access to these critical services will not be cut off while we continue to advocate for drivers to be able to work freely," an Uber spokesperson tells Bustle.

"While we don't have to suspend operations tonight, we do need to continue fighting for independence and driver benefits," Lyft spokesperson Julie Wood said in a statement emailed to Bustle. "That's what's on the ballot." Solution. ” In November, it’s the solution drivers want because it preserves their ability to earn and use the platform just like they do now — whenever they want — while also receiving historic new benefits. Without it, 80-90% of Californians who make money on app-based platforms will lose this opportunity. "

Why the back and forth? That ties into a state law that took effect in January. Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) would help classify some independent contractors as employees, giving them access to benefits such as minimum wage, overtime pay and unemployment insurance. But according to Lyft and Uber, drivers are not interested in such recognition because their freelance status gives them the flexibility to control the amount of work they take on. Lyft said in a blog post that four out of five of their drivers do not support the employee model the state is implementing. However, not all drivers are opposed to the law. Thousands of members of Rideshare Drivers United, a coalition of Lyft and Uber drivers, support AB5 and have filed wage claims with the Labor Commissioner's Office, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

While there may be more bumps in the road as ride-sharing companies reassess their labor models and state labor laws, it appears that Uber and Lyft will continue to operate as normal for the time being. Nonetheless, the court order is only a temporary stay, and the New York Times reports that the case will be reopened by mid-October.

Lyft and Uber say a longer-term solution is to pass Proposition 22, a measure that would allow drivers to be classified as employees and contractors, The Verge reported. Gray areas will include health care and paid leave, which Californians can vote on in November. Now you can rest easy knowing your rides aren't going anywhere. Except, you know, your destination.