Last spring in Florida, Uber driver Darrin McGillis was hit head on by a scooter that rendered his vehicle useless. To his dismay, Uber refused to cover the damages with their insurance under the premise that he was not an employee of uber, but was in fact a contractor. As a contractor, he received no benefits from Uber and was not covered by any of their insurance. Fortunately for him, he was able to file for unemployment with Uber by arguing that the work he did for Uber was more in line with the IRS’s definition of an employee rather than a contractor, and the state of Florida agreed. However, this case is being appealed by Uber, and nationwide this has not been recognized. People who make a living with companies like Uber and Lyft, or other companies that use contract drivers rather than employees (such as FedEx) face serious difficulty if their vehicles are damaged or if they are unable to work for any other reason. If you are considering a career in professional driving, which also applies to many truckers as well as Uber, Lyft, and FedEx drivers, then it is necessary to consider that you are on your own the minute you face difficulties. For salaried jobs in which you are considered an employee, there are common benefits your employer is required to give you, such as:
- Social Security Contributions Employers are legally obliged to pay social security tax at the same rate as their employees. This is very important for employees once they retire.
- Unemployment Insurance When an employee is laid off from his position, they are usually paid unemployment, which helps the former employee stay on his feet until he finds a new job.
- Workers Compensation If you are injured as an employee, you are eligible for workers compensation. However, this is not the case as a contractor. Instead, if you are injured in an automobile accident while working, you would need to contact car accident lawyers in LA just the same as a person injured off the job would.
- Leave Benefits Although not required by federal law, most employees in the United States receive leave benefits, which allow them to still be paid on vacations, during jury duty, and when they are sick, among other things.
For the vast majority of contract workers, these benefits are not provided. This has serious implications for those who choose work as contractors. If you are not working, you are not making money, and therefore may find it very hard to remain on your feet. One major setback is the personal injury issue. If you drive for a living, you are working in one of Forbes’ Top Ten Most Dangerous Jobs in America, and therefore are more likely than most to face injury. This is even more devastating for you because you aren’t eligible for workers compensation like most employees are. However, as mentioned earlier, car accident lawyers in LA may be able to help you attain the compensation you deserve. For many, working as a contract driver can be a rewarding job and make them enough money to live comfortably. We are not condemning this work. Working for Uber has many benefits, one of which is being able to choose your own hours — something that is very rare in the working world. Yet it is necessary to know the risks. The issues you could face may be the difference between beginning a career in professional driving and looking for something a little more stable.