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Law Offices of Bo Katzakian

Potential workers' compensation change sparks ride share proposal

Worker categorization and how it affects independent contractors in California is continuously discussed in the context of workers' compensation because the situation is a fluid one. Employers who prefer having independent contractors derive multiple benefits from such an arrangement. One is that they are shielded from needing to pay for workers' compensation insurance. Recent laws that have passed in the State Assembly have raised the level of urgency for employers who are seeking alternatives to so-called "gig" employees being labeled as employees. This is a concern for these workers when they are injured on the job and they should keep track of changes as they happen.

The ride share companies Uber and Lyft are set to be impacted by the new laws if they pass. To blunt the possibility of classifying contractors as workers, the companies propose that they will make certain concessions to avoid workers being considered employees. The concessions include offering a basic wage with various benefits provided they can continue to classify them as independent contractors. There are certain calculations that will determine what the base pay will be and workers will have the right to pick and choose which benefits they want.

This debate stems from the California Supreme Court decision that called into question how employees are categorized. Since injured workers who are independent contractors are generally prevented from getting workers' compensation benefits, they are commonly saddled with medical costs and the inability to earn wages with no recourse to make up for it. If the new law passes, it will alter how these companies do business and impact workers.

Since certain contracting jobs like those in which a person is on the road have a relatively high potential for injuries, this ongoing debate is important to the workers. Being unable to work and simultaneously being labeled as ineligible for workers' compensation can place people in turmoil in multiple areas of their lives. Financially, personally and emotionally, it can cause innumerable problems. Regardless of how a worker is categorized, injuries can be severely problematic to a person and his or her family. There are steps to be compensated whether it is through workers' compensation claims or a lawsuit. Calling for help from an experienced workers' compensation law firm can yield information and provide guidance on how to proceed.

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