Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is calling for a rethinking of the "outdated and unfair" labor laws so that gig economy workers like Uber drivers can enjoy benefits as well as flexibility. In a New York Times op-ed, Khosrowshahi calls for the creation of a "third way" to stop workers being forced to choose "between being an employee with more benefits but less flexibility, or an independent contractor with more flexibility but almost no safety net." He says that while critics are calling for Uber to just make its drivers employees, this would result in there being far fewer Uber drivers, operating in fewer cities—and surveys have shown that most Uber drivers value flexibility too much to want to be full-time employees.
He says Uber is "ready to pay more, right now" to give workers better protection and benefits, but it wants to do so under a new system, under which drivers, not companies, determine what benefits they receive. "I’m proposing that gig economy companies be required to establish benefits funds which give workers cash that they can use for the benefits they want, like health insurance or paid time off," the CEO writes. He adds: "If gig workers want to keep their current flexibility and get new benefits, shouldn't we give them the best of both worlds, instead of asking them to choose the lesser of two evils?" Click for Khosrowshahi's full piece. The op-ed comes as the company awaits a ruling in a California case in which it is accused of violating a new state law that reclassifies gig workers as employees, not contractors, reports CNBC. (Read more Uber stories.)