Will Uber ensure their drivers have appropriate insurance? Will they ensure that drivers who have a loan on their car are in in compliance with their lender? Today, drivers in Florida need commercial insurance. Tomorrow maybe they will be able to apply for “sharing” insurance. But until then, there remains a significant risk to all those involved. Drivers are literally a minor fender-bender away from serious financial and legal ramifications and could have their cars repossessed at anytime.
Via Tampa Bay Times TAMPA — Hillsborough County has joined cities such as Las Vegas, Miami and Portland, Ore., in calling for the court system’s support in the ongoing battle between regulators and rideshare companies. Board members voted during Wednesday’s Public Transportation Commission meeting to pursue injunctive relief against Uber and Lyft after both rideshare Read the full article…
In the new on-demand economy, companies are turning the Internet into the equivalent of a street corner hiring site and turning workers into day laborers. Hundreds of thousands of people work days-long or hours-long “gigs” — housecleaning for Homejoy, stocking shelves through Wonolo, or running errands as Taskrabbits. Some gigs last only minutes, and pay as little as a penny per task, including those posted on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. These piece-rate workers do the jobs that computers can’t do (yet). They tag online images, write copy for websites or match performers to labels on CDs.
Shannon Liss-Riordan, the lead plaintiff attorney in a pivotal class-action lawsuit against Uber Technologies, has a long, colorful history of successfully suing companies accused of failing to pay wages, overtime, tips, minimum wage and other benefits. Now she is taking aim at San Francisco’s behemoth on-demand ride service Uber and its rival Lyft. Plus, she’s mulling plans for taking similar action against a rash of other young tech companies that classify workers as independent contractors.
How would you like to live in an economy where robots do everything that can be predictably programmed in advance, and almost all profits go to the robots’ owners? Meanwhile, human beings do the work that’s unpredictable – odd jobs, on-call projects, fetching and fixing, driving and delivering, tiny tasks needed at any and all hours – and patch together barely enough to live on. Brace yourself. This is the economy we’re now barreling toward.
Airbnb recently announced it would collect and remit hotel taxes from its users in Washington, D.C., as part of a broader move to resolve tax conflicts — should hosts pay them? how do they pay them? — in some of the company’s largest markets. The move highlights a larger shift in the the “sharing economy,” where thousands of people are now earning income off their second bedrooms, personal cars or spare time. Namely: Companies like Airbnb and Uber are increasingly taking on some of the roles that have traditionally belonged to government.
Customer reviews are a new form of credit report, one that measures comportment instead of finances. Although such ratings have been tried before — eBay was a pioneer — the practice has taken off with the rise of the so-called on-demand economy. Reviewing customers is also raising questions about who owns the data detailing good and bad behavior, what they can do with it — and whether people even know it is being collected.
In TIME’s new cover story, Joel Stein takes readers on a wild ride through the sharing economy—renting out his car, chauffeuring people around late into the night, making dinner for strangers and even toying with the idea of doing other people’s laundry. Here are five big takeaways about why we trust strangers with our stuff, our lives and our homes.
One of the little understood realities that come with the quote-unquote “sharing economy,” or when ordinary people offer up space in their cars, their bicycles, and in Airbnb’s case, the place where they sleep (or perhaps don’t), for additional income is that assuming a 25% tax bracket and 15.3% self employment insurance, some people will be owing upwards of 40% of what they earned in Federal taxes.
It’s true that, in many ways, sharing-economy jobs can offer more autonomy than traditional employer-employee relationships. But there’s a dark side to these work arrangements that gets considerably less press: the shifting of risk off corporate balance sheets and onto the shoulders of individual Americans, who may not even realize what kinds of liabilities they’re taking on.