We want to give you as much information as possible here, but because this is all so new, much of the process you need to go through to secure unemployment compensation is still in flux. Mr. Newsom did take some steps at odds with the positions of Uber and Lyft. Employers in California and other states are required to contribute to state unemployment trust funds on behalf of employees who might claim benefits. But this is what happens when ultrapowerful app companies with an army of well-paid lobbyists and lawyers are saying they’re going to fight to the bitter end against workers’ ability to demand rights under the law.”. At the time, though, New York did not appear set up yet to process his claim, leaving Malik's application in limbo. The weekly benefit rate is capped at a maximum amount based on the state minimum wage. Does Uber effect your unemployment? Reeling from a riot, Washington faces rising coronavirus cases. Each state will dictate how much you will receive per week but the stimulus package pays for at least $600 a week. Uber and Lyft drivers have lost more than 80 percent of their income as … If you are currently collecting unemployment insurance benefits and working for Uber, you are required to report the wage you earn on your claim form for week ending Saturday. Uber’s costs per driver, and those of Lyft, could jump by more than 20% if they are forced to reclassify workers as employees, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. “I expect we may see more of this,” Shannon Liss-Riordan, an attorney who has sued Uber on behalf of drivers in California and Massachusetts, said of New Jersey’s tax claim against Uber. If you can, try to find real employment, otherwise you'll be without unemployment and with shit pay while under the thumb of a typical abusive and manipulative company. This includes up to 39 weeks of expanded unemployment insurance. Uber Driver Filing for Unemployment in NJ Hello, I am currently filing for unemployment on behalf of my father. Allowing drivers to receive the new federal benefits rather than traditional unemployment assistance could help gig-economy companies like Uber and Lyft avoid significant costs in the future. As Bloomberg Law reported Thursday, New Jersey’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development sent letters to Uber and subsidiary Rasier LLC assessing a … “Uber and Lyft, by misclassifying drivers, are harming not only the drivers but also the states and the public at large. The federal Labor Department and the National Labor Relations Board have recently issued guidance indicating they’re not likely to pursue Uber or Lyft for alleged misclassification. Some New Jersey drivers told Bloomberg Law that they would prefer to remain contractors and keep the flexibility to choose when and where they work. TRENTON, N.J.— The New Jersey Department of Labor has assessed Uber for almost $650 million for failing to pay unemployment and disability taxes for its drivers. “It’s not a very aggressive oversight agency.”. This does include rideshare and delivery drivers. “Not a day goes by when I don’t speak to at least two clients about how to enhance their compliance with independent contractor laws, in particular those with ‘ABC’ laws,” said Richard Reibstein, a business lawyer in New York. We can’t guarantee anything for you, but we can definitely offer some guidance and advice. They’re also prepping for a similar lobbying battle in New York, where lawmakers are planning to take up gig worker legislation next year. At the time, though, New York did not appear set up yet to process his claim, leaving Malik's application in limbo. To receive at least $167/weekly in UI, your earnings for Lyft/Uber in the 18 months prior to filing for unemployment would need to be average around $367 per week - or $4250 in one 3-month period. States are sometimes tempted to push boundaries because the Labor Department “hasn’t always stood up to them,” Mr. Stettner added. The companies had offered to institute minimum wages, portable benefits like paid sick leave, and some collective bargaining rights in exchange for being carved out of the new law. Update (3-27-2020): Due to the new stimulus bill that was signed into law on 3-27-2020, Uber and Lyft drivers will be able to file for unemployment benefits for 4 months. Uber has also pointed out that the state’s recent law doesn’t make drivers eligible for unemployment benefits on its own. Uber, Lyft, and other online platforms unsuccessfully lobbied to stop a new law in California that uses a similar test to distinguish between contractors and employees. Bloomberg Law News reports: Uber and subsidiary Rasier LLC were assessed $523 million in past-due taxes over the last four years, the state Department of Labor and Workforce … We will calculate your weekly benefit rate at 60% of the average weekly wage you earned during the base year, up to that maximum.We determine the average weekly wage based on wage information your employer(s) report. Lyft or Uber drivers can work part time so some wonder if they will still be eligible for unemployment if they work on Lyft and Uber. Even though Uber and Lyft have not contributed any money to the Unemployment Fund, the Act allocates sufficient funding to cover all ICs. A caravan protest outside a state office in Los Angeles on Thursday pressed for California to enforce a statute, challenged by Uber and Lyft, designating their drivers as employees. In effect, allowing the drivers to claim the federal benefit helps the companies avoid conceding that they are on the hook for funding state benefits. But there’s a catch in California: The state doesn’t typically consider them self-employed. But Ms. Su said there was no way to expedite unemployment benefits for drivers under the traditional program without income data from Uber and Lyft. It is not clear whether the company ever paid any of that bill. “They need these benefits. Now the coronavirus crisis has put a spotlight on a related question: Who is responsible for helping those drivers when there is no work? If drivers in these states receive federal pandemic assistance rather than traditional unemployment benefits, it could help reduce the financial liabilities of companies like Uber and Lyft by tens of millions of dollars after the crisis passes. Independent contractors, the self-employed and gig workers like Lyft and Uber drivers are eligible to collect unemployment benefits under the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief law. The state labor department didn’t provide any documents in response to Bloomberg Law’s request for unemployment insurance assessments against Lyft. New Jersey, which has a much higher UI taxable wage base and higher tax rate, recently fined Uber for $530 million in unpaid UI taxes between 2014 and 2018, and $119 million in missed interest payments. By contrast, under the rules of the pandemic assistance program, the self-employed and other eligible workers can begin receiving assistance quickly, even before documenting their income. Given the number of drivers in California, the amount to cover unemployment payments would likely be in the billions of dollars. In addition, Uber maintains automobile liability insurance on behalf of all U.S. drivers. New Jersey also told Uber it got a court judgment requesting the company pay about $54 million in unpaid unemployment and disability insurance taxes, but it is not known if Uber ever paid up. While some Uber and Lyft drivers had successfully claimed regular unemployment benefits in California before the executive order, the process took months because the companies refused to submit income data needed to verify eligibility. You can earn these benefits for 39 weeks as long as you remain unemployed and cannot find a job. And under a state law passed last year and some previous determinations, the drivers are considered employees in California and should be able to draw traditional unemployment benefits. Anwaar Malik, a driver for Uber and Lyft in Long Island, said he applied for unemployment aid in New York, the epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, immediately after he learned that the CARES Act had become law. For 2021, the maximum weekly benefit rate is $731. Worker advocates say that’s a false choice rideshare operators offer to skirt their basic responsibilities. Paying Back Unemployment in Other States. He cannot work for Uber at the moment given the extreme threat the virus possesses to him due to his age and recurring health problems. Early this month, the state seemed to be trying to process benefits for Uber and Lyft drivers under the traditional unemployment system. Lawmakers intended the law to cover Uber and Lyft drivers, but some labor law experts said the department’s guidance seemed too narrow. Last week, Uber, Lyft and another gig company, DoorDash, sent an email to government officials asking the state agency overseeing unemployment insurance to remove that sentence from its website and to help gig workers apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Uber Technologies Inc. is indebted to the State of New Jersey for approximately $650 million for disability and unemployment insurance taxes. “Many self-employed ride-share and delivery drivers intend to apply for loans and other federal relief available to independent contractors,” the companies wrote, and they “worry that making an inaccurate representation that they are employees” could preclude that, the email said. The CARES Act will pay independent contractors unemployment benefits. Andrew Stettner, an expert on unemployment insurance at the Century Foundation, a liberal think tank, said that the U.S. Labor Department could order California to desist but that it was unlikely to require the state to pay back money it had given to drivers. California’s action appears to reflect a shift by state officials. Please note, however, UI minimum benefit is much lower than PUA minimum - $40 vs. $167/week. In New York and New Jersey, among other states, Uber and Lyft drivers are classified as employees for unemployment insurance purposes. “The companies being required to pay into the unemployment insurance fund will mean that they can’t just toss drivers off the app.”, To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Opfer in New York at copfer@bloomberglaw.com, To contact the editors responsible for this story: Terence Hyland at thyland@bloomberglaw.com; Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bloomberglaw.com; John Lauinger at jlauinger@bloomberglaw.com. If you already had a second job after hours – say as a singer, photographer or Uber driver, you can continue the work if you meet the following conditions: you are able and available for full-time work, you don’t substantially increase your participation in the business, and Gavin Newsom signed an executive order on Wednesday directing the state’s unemployment agency to help workers like Uber and Lyft drivers collect benefits under the federal program, known as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Recourse to such assistance has been hampered, however, by the companies’ refusal to provide routine documentation to the state as they fight the law in court. The New Jersey labor department has been after Uber for unpaid employment taxes for at least four years, according to the documents, which Bloomberg Law obtained through an open public records request. Drivers who moonlight for the companies to supplement income from other jobs are additionally required to report rideshare earnings for eligibility determination purposes as a result of the state’s determination that they are employees. Ms. Su said that she had spoken with representatives from Uber and Lyft about the state’s approach but that the companies did not directly make the case for the action the state took. TRENTON, N.J.—. Lyft or Uber drivers can work part time so some wonder if they will still be eligible for unemployment if they work on Lyft and Uber. The rideshare businesses also are on the hook for as much as $119 million in interest and penalties on the unpaid amounts, according to other internal department documents. The California labor secretary, Julie A. Su, said in an interview that she believed the state’s move to help drivers under the federal program was legal because the government had “emphasized flexibility” in administering the emergency aid. Jobless Claims by Uber and Lyft Drivers Revive Fight Over Labor Status. Open Letter to State Unemployment Insurance Agencies on Uber & Lyft Drivers We are professors and researchers, each of whom has expertise relevant to the question of whether drivers of transportation companies Uber and Lyft are employees for purposes of state unemployment insurance. Sign in to your Uber account through the driver login or rider login here. The U.S. Labor Department did not provide comment for this article. To read more articles log in. Ms. Su, the state labor secretary, said the purpose of the new approach was to ensure that struggling gig workers could begin to receive benefits rapidly. The New Jersey DOL has determined that Uber misclassified drivers at a cost of $523 million. TRENTON – Uber owes the state of New Jersey about $650 million in back unemployment taxes, disability insurance and penalties, because the rideshare company incorrectly classifies its … He cannot work for Uber at the moment given the extreme threat the virus possesses to him due to his age and recurring health problems. For uberX and uberXL in NJ that means valid insurance with coverage that meets or exceeds New Jersey’s minimum financial responsibility requirements, with the driver's name on the insurance policy. The New Jersey DOL has determined that Uber misclassified drivers at a cost of $523 million. In addition to California, at least three states — Illinois, New York and New Jersey — have deemed at least some Uber and Lyft drivers eligible for regular unemployment insurance. Uber in April told the state labor department that it disagreed with the determination that drivers are employees and requested a hearing on the issue, but it is not clear whether a hearing has been scheduled. The state labor department sent surveys to Uber and Lyft drivers over the last year seeking information about their work arrangements and tax status. To receive at least $167/weekly in UI, your earnings for Lyft/Uber in the 18 months prior to filing for unemployment would need to be average around $367 per week - or $4250 in one 3-month period. For the week that ended on March 14, a total of 9,467 people working in New Jersey applied for unemployment benefits, according to the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development. “The states are caught in a hard place,” said Brian Chen, a lawyer who focuses on the rights of economically insecure workers at the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group. If you are currently collecting unemployment insurance benefits and working for Uber, you are required to report the wage you earn on your claim form for week ending Saturday. Log in to access all of your Bloomberg Law products. In addition to California, at least three states — Illinois, New York and New Jersey — have deemed at least some Uber and Lyft drivers eligible for regular unemployment insurance. Traditionally, Unemployment doles out around half of your salary or if you make over a certain threshold, you will be given around $500 (give or take per state) per week. For uberX and uberXL in NJ that means valid insurance with coverage that meets or exceeds New Jersey’s minimum financial responsibility requirements, with the driver's name on the insurance policy. The notices mark the latest attack on the rideshare companies’ business model, which treats drivers as self-employed entrepreneurs rather than employees—a classification that deprives the workers of certain benefits. “For those who say properly enforcing our unemployment laws will stifle worker flexibility, let’s be clear: there is no reason temporary or on-demand workers can’t be treated like other employees who work flexible hours for short durations,” Asaro-Angelo said. According to SF Weekly, last month Patrick Ely applied for unemployment benefits after he lost his access to Uber’s app. U.S. Labor Department officials have emphasized that only workers ineligible for traditional unemployment benefits can receive the federal pandemic assistance. 1) Unemployment Insurance – Standard. “We don’t take any enforcement options off the table,” Ms. Su said when asked about the possibility of litigation. That is going to hurt even more if they decide to go after that. 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