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California Governor Asks Gig Companies to Hand Over Wage Data

April 15, 2020, 9:08 PM

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said platform economy companies still must provide wage data to the state’s employment department, despite funding in the federal Covid-19 package that sets aside money for gig workers hurt by the pandemic.

Newsom said Wednesday that the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program in the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act doesn’t preclude companies from classifying their workers as employees, not independent contractors, under the state’s A.B. 5 law.

“Not all of those employers are paying into unemployment insurance,” Newsom said at his daily teleconference on the Covid-19 pandemic. “I just want folks to know that their status, even if they choose the PUA process, is not at peril.”

A.B. 5 makes it harder for ride-hailing companies like Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc., and delivery platforms like Instacart and DoorDash Inc. to consider their drivers as independent contractors, and has sparked a ballot initiative to shield those companies from the law’s effects.

The comments came as Newsom announced an order to expand hours at the state’s Employment Development Department, as well as $125 million to help undocumented workers in the state.

Newsom also announced the creation of an online portal for applying for the benefits. The administration expects claims will be processed within 48 hours once the system is in place.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tiffany Stecker in Sacramento, Calif. at tstecker@bgov.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Karl Hardy at khardy@bloomberglaw.com