What is ‘uberization’ and how does it affect worker compensation?

Uber Driver with  an iPhone - San Diego Worker Compensation Thanks to the technological boom in the age we live in, we are able to get amazing things, more so than any previous generation. However, new technologies are changing the workplace landscape much faster than most of us are able to adapt.

The term ‘uberization’ is used to describe this new economic model, where full-time employment is a rare thing, and most people are just contractors or freelancers. The term, of course, comes from the transport company Uber. Well, technically, Uber is a tech company and owns no cars and employs no drivers. They just enable the platform for freelancing.

And they are by no means alone in this. Some estimates claim that jobs that used to be considered full time or part time are now offered as one-time gigs, much like musicians and other performers used to get. This has led to many people having two or more jobs, currently accounting for 6% of workers. This trend mostly affects young people but it will not stop there.

What is the issue?

If people want or need to work two or more jobs, that is their right, right? Yes, but if an injury or an illness affects them, they are likely to lose income from all workplaces. If this is a work-related injury, they can ask for worker compensation from that particular workplace. But what happens with all the other wages they have missed from all the other workplaces. Do they get any kind of compensation for that?

What does the law say?

As mentioned before, many of us are still unable to catch up with all these changes. That includes legislation, too. There are many questions that need to be answered before any coherent policy is issued. Who is responsible for tracking of injuries and deaths in this freelance economy? Are people employed in this model viable for worker compensation at all?

There are actually some calls to exclude workers who work these gig-jobs from the compensation coverage altogether. It is unlikely that these calls will get much attention, though.

What are the risks with gig jobs

Many people are willing to get extra gig-jobs. However, they fail to learn and the employers don’t always find it necessary to inform them about the limitations of these jobs. There are serious limitations set by the local jurisdictions to decisions about compensation for gig-workers. Not only are gig-workers unfamiliar with their rights (or lack of thereof), but there is not enough data to calculate the risk factors for these workers. The risk is normally calculated by the internal work factors such as hours spent working, resting and sleeping and external factors such as road conditions, etc. Since we have insufficient data on the workers themselves, there can’t be enough data to calculate the risks themselves.

What next?

Seeing how this area is still heavily unregulated, the next step should be regulating it. Employment surveys are a useful tool for that. However, the current format is not adequate and does not reflect the new situation. We need to learn more about the gig economy before we can regulate it successfully. It is still unclear whether, and how much, are ‘uberized’ companies responsible for the health of their (not) employees.

If you are in need of a San Diego worker compensation lawyer, contact The Law Offices of Thomas M. DeBenedetto. Our experienced and dedicated staff will do everything to fight for your rights. Contact our offices in order to learn more about your chances in court. Our best recommendations come from the millions and millions of dollars we have retrieved for our clients over the years.