House Dem's bill would require ride-hailing companies to cover drivers' Social Security costs

House Dem's bill would require ride-hailing companies to cover drivers' Social Security costs
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Rep. Deb HaalandDebra HaalandOvernight Energy: Dems press Interior chief to embrace climate action | Lawmakers at odds on how to regulate chemicals in water | Warren releases climate plan for military Warren releases plan to tackle climate change threats to military House Dem's bill would require ride-hailing companies to cover drivers' Social Security costs MORE (D-N.M.) has announced legislation that would require Uber and Lyft to help cover drivers’ Social Security and Medicare costs.

The ride-hailing companies currently classify their drivers as independent contractors, meaning the 15.3 percent payroll taxes for Medicare and Social Security are entirely the responsibility of the drivers, rather than split between employee and employer as they are for most companies.

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Under Haaland’s proposal, the burden would be shifted onto the ride-hailing companies. The lawmaker said her proposal is "about fairness" to workers.

"Uber and other billion dollar multi-national corporations are not paying their fair share," Haaland said in a statement. "Instead, they are passing the buck to their workers, increasing financial insecurity for folks who are working hard to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. The gig is up."

“Large companies have found a loophole to dodge standard labor practices and employer contributions to Social Security and Medicare, thereby denying workers a variety of protections and benefits accorded to traditional workers, including a guaranteed minimum wage and retirement security," she added.

The proposal, which comes amid ongoing national debate over whether "gig economy" workers should be treated as full employees or independent contractors, has been hailed by advocacy group Social Security Works.

“Her plan to require Uber and other large 'gig economy' corporations to pay the full 15.3 percent Social Security and Medicare contribution would release workers who have been misclassified as independent contractors from an unfair burden,” said Social Security Works President Nancy Altman. “Furthermore, it would be great for workers' economic security and for our Social Security and Medicare systems.”

The proposal comes the same day Uber and Lyft drivers are set to strike for better wages and benefits ahead of the companies’ initial public offering. Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign DNC boss says candidates to be involved in debate lottery CEO pay rising twice as fast as worker pay: AP MORE (I-Vt.) expressed solidarity with the striking workers Wednesday, tweeting: “I stand with striking Uber and Lyft drivers today. The greed has got to end.”

Uber and Lyft did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.