Most of those working in Madison may expect that they can rely on workers’ compensation benefits should they ever be injured on the job. Those who are classified as independent contractors, however, may not be extended the same assistance. This is due to the fact that such workers are typically viewed as being self-employed. When they enter into the employ of a larger company or franchise, their status may stay the same, with them and the company agreeing on contractual terms rather than a standard employment agreement. Some may say that this allows companies to get away with not having to offer people who truly are employees standard benefits. Those companies may counter with the argument that independent contractors enjoy the flexibility to seek other money-making opportunities while still under contract with them.
A recent ruling in the cases of two Uber drivers in New York may signal a paradigm shift towards treating contractors more like employees. The New York Department of Labor dictated in its ruling that the drivers in these cases should be given standard employee benefits. In these particular cases, the benefits being sought after were unemployment claims. With the ruling specifying that these drivers be treated like regular employees, however, one might assume that future cases may extend to other standard benefits such as workers’ compensation. Labor officials were quick to point out, though, that the rulings in cases such as these apply only to individual claims and not the service sector as a whole.