Washington state Senate passes bill granting ride-hail drivers right to paid family and medical leave

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Washington state Senate has unanimously passed a bill that would grant ride-hail drivers paid family and medical leave, making it the first state in the US to do so.

HB 1570 builds on the rights won by drivers in the Expand Fairness Act passed in 2022, which established a statewide wage floor for drivers, provided them with worker’s compensation insurance and paid sick time, and protected them against unjustified deactivation. This latest win could have ripple effects in other states fighting to grant gig workers employment benefits.

Drivers will have access to the program, which offers up to 12 weeks of paid leave, from July 2024. It applies if a driver needs to take time off to care for a family member, if they have a serious health condition that prevents them from working, or if they have a new child. The cost of a driver’s premiums will be fully paid by the ride-hail companies, like Uber and Lyft, for which the driver works.

This ruling marks a victory for the Drivers Union, an association of ride-hail drivers, who have been fighting for worker’s rights and benefits since 2014. Peter Kuel, the union’s president, called it “a landmark in the fight for worker rights nationwide” and a demonstration of what drivers can achieve when they organize together.

The decision in Washington is in contrast to California, where Proposition 22 classified Uber and Lyft drivers as independent contractors rather than employees, denying them access to benefits like paid leave. The state’s recent decision to uphold the proposition was a blow to drivers’ rights, but Washington’s ruling could signal a shift in the tide towards employment benefits for gig workers.

It’s not clear how the ride-hail companies will fund the program or whether they’ll increase rider fares in Washington to compensate. The bill now awaits Governor Jay Inslee’s signature to become law.

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Washington state Senate passes bill granting ride-hail drivers right to paid family and medical leave

Washington state Senate has unanimously passed a bill that would grant ride-hail drivers paid family and medical leave, making it the first state in the US to do so.

HB 1570 builds on the rights won by drivers in the Expand Fairness Act passed in 2022, which established a statewide wage floor for drivers, provided them with worker’s compensation insurance and paid sick time, and protected them against unjustified deactivation. This latest win could have ripple effects in other states fighting to grant gig workers employment benefits.

Drivers will have access to the program, which offers up to 12 weeks of paid leave, from July 2024. It applies if a driver needs to take time off to care for a family member, if they have a serious health condition that prevents them from working, or if they have a new child. The cost of a driver’s premiums will be fully paid by the ride-hail companies, like Uber and Lyft, for which the driver works.

This ruling marks a victory for the Drivers Union, an association of ride-hail drivers, who have been fighting for worker’s rights and benefits since 2014. Peter Kuel, the union’s president, called it “a landmark in the fight for worker rights nationwide” and a demonstration of what drivers can achieve when they organize together.

The decision in Washington is in contrast to California, where Proposition 22 classified Uber and Lyft drivers as independent contractors rather than employees, denying them access to benefits like paid leave. The state’s recent decision to uphold the proposition was a blow to drivers’ rights, but Washington’s ruling could signal a shift in the tide towards employment benefits for gig workers.

It’s not clear how the ride-hail companies will fund the program or whether they’ll increase rider fares in Washington to compensate. The bill now awaits Governor Jay Inslee’s signature to become law.

Disclaimer

We strive to uphold the highest ethical standards in all of our reporting and coverage. We StartupNews.fyi want to be transparent with our readers about any potential conflicts of interest that may arise in our work. It’s possible that some of the investors we feature may have connections to other businesses, including competitors or companies we write about. However, we want to assure our readers that this will not have any impact on the integrity or impartiality of our reporting. We are committed to delivering accurate, unbiased news and information to our audience, and we will continue to uphold our ethics and principles in all of our work. Thank you for your trust and support.

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