How Much Money Are Uber Drivers Missing as Contractors?

A new analysis reveals what they could receive if classified as employees.

(AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

Since a judge ruled in June that a California Uber driver is an employee, not an independent contractor, there have been more and more questions raised about the finances of the gig economy.

A new analysis from finance website NerdWallet looks at what drivers would receive if Uber provided them with the same benefits as its full-time employees. According to Fortune’s coverage, the breakdown “estimates that Uber drivers in six major cities in the United States — if deemed full-time employees — would receive paid holidays and healthcare benefits worth an average of $5,500 annually, plus thousands more dollars in mileage reimbursement.”

Using hourly wage data from Uber for each of the six cities included in the analysis — Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. — and assuming an eight-hour work day, NerdWallet calculated that drivers would receive between $1,167.12 and $2,134.80 in holiday pay.

If Uber drivers were deemed to be employees, one of their biggest gains would be mileage reimbursement. According to NerdWallet:

The California driver [in the case mentioned above] put in 6,468 miles for Uber in just under two months, according to the decision, which ordered Uber to reimburse her at the IRS rate, currently at 57.5 cents a mile. Berwick’s driving, extrapolated to a full year, would add up to 38,808 miles, meaning $22,315 in reimbursement.

Fortune notes that, according to an Uber representative, if drivers did become employees, they would “drive set shifts, earn a fixed hourly, wage, and lose the ability to drive using other ride-sharing apps as well as the personal flexibility they most value.”

Jenn Stanley is a freelance journalist, essayist and independent producer living in Chicago. She has an M.S. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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Tags: income inequalityuber

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