This Document outlines a set of priorities for industry and government action that we believe will improve the quality of work for the millions of independent workers who get work through platforms like Uber’s while preserving the flexibility that we know these workers value. We believe that these independent contractors should be entitled to continued access to these flexible earnings opportunities, new benefits they can elect and protections that fit the work, more information on what they can expect to earn, and regular, meaningful input to platform decisions that directly impact their livelihoods.
We are sharing these ideas in order to gather feedback and encourage dialogue among the wide range of stakeholders committed to enhancing the quality and security of independent platform work, especially the drivers and delivery people who work with Uber. We recognize that there are still important questions to answer. This document is a first step in that journey.
Over the last decade, digital marketplaces and platforms like Uber’s have created a new type of work that empowers individuals to determine where and when they work, and offers new options for people traditionally marginalized from the labor market. In 2019, approximately 7 million Americans used digital platforms for work. One million of these workers used the Uber platform to earn income by driving passengers, delivering food, or doing both. Before COVID-19, platform work was growing rapidly. In the current recession, platforms can provide rapid access to a new source of income or a bridge to other employment for the millions of Americans claiming unemployment benefits. In short, the availability and uptake of this app-based work has revealed and served a segment of the labor market comprised of people who are underemployed, unemployed, or simply looking for a change.
While digital apps and platforms have been and continue to be powerful forces for creating economic opportunity, it is clear that more should be done to improve the quality and security of platform work. The current health and economic crisis has brought into sharp focus the need for everyone, regardless of their employment status, to be able to find good quality, rewarding work; be able to work in the way they choose; and have access to adequate social protections and benefits. COVID-19 has revealed the fundamental inequity of our current employment system, in which some workers get benefits and protections, while others don’t. Outdated legal frameworks are forcing platforms and workers to make a choice between flexibility or security at precisely the moment when both flexibility and security are needed. We can and must do better.
Calls to action and corporate commitments to deliver on the promise of high-quality independent work:
These new benefits would be provided in addition to Uber’s longstanding commitment to accessible work and worker-defined flexibility. We commit to working proactively and in partnership with lawmakers in Washington, DC and in state capitols on legislation to deliver certainty for millions of independent contractors who will increasingly rely on independent work to help them face the economic challenges that lie ahead during a recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. As one of the largest platforms for work in the nation, we hope that our leadership inspires other companies to join us in making these commitments and in defining a new and improved standard of work for this sector of the economy.
Uber’s platform can be a bridge to economic recovery if we establish a better standard of work for all who need it. The opportunity is now, and the responsibility is ours. The world has changed, and we must change with it.
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