Prop 22 in California: Uber and Lyft Drivers Will Remain Independent Contractors

By , J.D., University of Missouri School of Law

California voters have handed Uber and Lyft a victory by passing Prop 22, a ballot measure that allows companies that rely on "gig workers" to continue to classify them as independent contractors. The measure granted ridesharing and food delivery apps an exemption from a state law known as Assembly Bill 5 that made it much harder for companies to classify their workers as independent contractors.

Labor unions and other opponents of the ballot measure had argued that "gig economy" workers should be entitled to the legal protections available to traditional employees, including the minimum wage, overtime pay, unemployment benefits, workers' compensation, and paid family leave. While Prop 22 does require these companies to offer their gig workers some limited benefits, including health insurance stipends, it's passage is seen as a massive victory for the ridesharing and food delivery apps that supported it.

The ballot measure was the most expensive in the state's history, with Uber, Lyft, Instacart, and Doordash all spending tens of millions of dollars to fund the ballot initiative campaign.

Read more about California's Assembly Bill 5 and how to tell the difference between employees and independent contractors.