San Francisco Subpoenas Lyft, Uber on Driver Pay
San Francisco’s city attorney Dennis Herrera has issued formal subpoenas to Lyft and Uber to turn over records on whether they classify drivers as employees or private contractors, as well as records on driver pay and benefits. The subpoenas follow the California Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the definition of an employee versus an independent contractor.
The subpoenas seek a complete list of Uber and Lyft drivers that have completed at least one trip in San Francisco from 2015 to the present, documentation showing whether the company classifies each driver as an independent contractor or employee, and proof to justify contractor status. For any drivers classified as employees, the companies must provide documentation of hours worked, wages, healthcare payments, and other benefits.
Startups with on-demand models such as Uber and Lyft have long argued their drivers are independent contractors.
The San Francisco-based ride-hailing companies have long faced the employee-vs.-contractor question. The California Supreme Court’s answer could upend the business models of their industry — the “gig economy” — which depends on low labor costs.
“San Francisco’s laws help ensure that employers provide a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work,” Herrera said in a statement. “Our laws also guarantee employees basic humane benefits like sick leave, health care, and paid parental leave. We are not going to turn a blind eye if companies in San Francisco deny workers their pay and benefits.”
Uber declined to comment.
“Lyft has a long track record of working collaboratively with policymakers, including the S.F. City Attorney, on important issues,” said spokesman Adrian Durbin. “We look forward to helping the City Attorney’s office fully understand Lyft’s business model, including our relationship with drivers.”
Median Lyft driver earnings in San Francisco are more than $25 per hour before expenses, which typically range from $3 to $5 an hour, he said.
Herrera has been on a campaign to force Uber and Lyft to reveal more about their inner workings so he can see whether they comply with local laws.
Source: SF Chronicle