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4 min read

    4 min read

    We all have a pretty good idea of how drivers feel about being independent contractors vs. rideshare employees – but have you ever thought of how actual Uber and Lyft employees feel about this debate? RSG contributor Chonce Maddox Rhea summarizes interesting new information, directly from Uber/Lyft employees, about how they feel about drivers becoming employees.

    The passing of Assembly Bill 5 or AB5 in California surprised many people this year and will go into effect on January 1st. This bill will affect a lot of contractors specifically, but for rideshare drivers, it will mean that they have to be treated as employees by Uber and Lyft. Uber and Lyft may beg to differ with that ruling though.

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    According to a survey from Blind, an anonymous professional network, an overwhelming number of Uber and Lyft employees feel drivers should stay independent contractors. Blind has 14,000 Uber employees and 4,000 Lyft employees signed up. In order to make sure these employees are truly Uber/Lyft employees, users of Blind must register with a company email address.

    The Results Are In – But Are Not Surprising

    Out of 236 Uber employees surveyed, 95% believe gig workers should be treated as contractors and only 5% believed they should be treated as employees.

    Out of the 46 Lyft employees that were surveyed, 89% felt gig workers should keep contractor status while 11% believed they should become employees.

    Needless to say, these results aren’t that surprising seeing as how AB5 was never Uber or Lyft’s idea. While it’s interesting to see what actual employees think, both Uber and Lyft have been adamantly against the terms of AB5 and admit they probably won’t even acknowledge it in the coming year.

    Uber counsel Tony West even stated that he believes Uber will not be legally required to classify California drivers as employees since Uber can likely pass the required test used to determine this.

    As a quick reminder: AB5 is going to codify a decision that applies to the ABC test in California, which is what West is referring to. The ABC test states that as an independent contractor, your business must prove the following:

    (A) that the worker is free from the control and direction of the hirer in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of such work and in fact.

    (B) that the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business

    (C) that the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed for the hiring entity

    Many people feel that Uber and Lyft may not actually pass the ABC test and already treat drivers like employees in so many ways, from setting the mileage rates and kicking people off the app when their rating drops too low to telling drivers when and where to drive, like with Uber’s Quest bonuses.

    Almost Half of Uber Employees Feel Upper Management Doesn’t Care About the Gig Workers

    When the Blind survey asked whether upper management really cares about the drivers, the results were more split among Uber employees on the platform. About 57% said they believed upper management does care about the drivers, while 43% said they felt they don’t.

    For Lyft employees, 77% felt the company cared about the drivers while 23% didn’t.

    This is a hot button issue among drivers, especially those who feel they haven’t been treated fairly by the rideshare companies. Uber and Lyft have become a solid way for gig workers to earn an honest income, but there are still many kinks that need to be worked out.

    When analysts with Barclays estimated that AB5 could end up costing Uber an additional $500 million per year and increase the company’s cost by 20%, it would probably make anyone wonder the true reason why the company has been pushing so hard for the drivers’ rights to remain independent contractors.

    Rideshare companies have to find the balance between making the riders happy and making the drivers happy, and if the companies provide more policies that reflect that, I feel there would be fewer driver protests and issues.

    Drivers Want to Be Contractors

    At least 66% of drivers would prefer to be independent contractors according to our latest Lyft and Uber Driver survey. Over a third of drivers surveyed said the most important thing for them is flexibility.

    Being able to drive when it’s convenient for you is a major perk that draws people to sign up in the first place. Pay is the biggest concern for drivers, which is why overall satisfaction with the company decreases when drivers feel they aren’t being paid enough.

    The bottom line is even though AB5 in California raised some support, it’s going to be an uphill battle to get companies like Uber and Lyft to acknowledge it. In that same breath, Uber and Lyft need to focus on driver satisfaction and making their contractors feel like actual independent contractors.

    Judging by Blind’s survey, corporate employees feel the same way.

    What are your thoughts on these survey results from Uber and Lyft employees?

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    -Chonce @ RSG

    Chonce Maddox Rhea

    Chonce Maddox Rhea

    Choncé is a freelance writer who’s obsessed with living well on a budget and loves encouraging people to make extra money so they can meet their financial goals. She is happily married to one of the best Uber drivers in the Chicago metro area, who currently has 2,800+ trips under his belt.

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