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Millennial Minute: Should Uber Drivers Be Considered Employees?

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Ride-sharing services have taken the world by storm in the past decade. But as with all new technology, the road to success does not come without criticism. The newest question pointed at Uber is if they should give their drivers employee status. The gig economy is the modern labor market, where freelancers choose their hours as their own boss; this feature has been attractive for the drivers in the past. But the downside is losing benefits that come with a salaried position. Pavlina Osta and Gavin Wax visit Bold TV to discuss the implications of Uber’s decisions not only on drivers but also on consumers.

Uber Drivers Need Their Benefits, But Also Their Flexibility

Uber drivers chose to work freelance for Uber to have more freedom and flexibility; as a result, they forfeited the benefits of traditional employment. There are trade-offs in all decisions. However, proponents of the new employee standard call for Uber to treat its drivers like people instead of second-class citizens. Should Uber be forced into a moral code by policies? Some people answer yes and argue that Uber sacrificed their morals in the beginning by not paying minimum wage. Critics say no; Uber should not be forced into a decision but should be influenced by the competition in the market.

Feel-Good Policies vs Spiking Prices

Feel-good policies can ultimately make things expensive. If Uber paid drivers as employees, the costs would go up a minimum of 20 percent. Because Uber will be forced to pay for more responsibility, there would be fewer drivers and higher prices. This is ultimately a question of competition: Could Uber still compete in the market if it did move to traditional employment? Would people be able to pay the price? One side of the argument says that the market should keep innovation and choice alive while the other says the moral decision may cost but is still right.

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