Win for app based drivers in New York as Judge orders state to pay full employee rate of UI benefits

Image credit: Piqsels

The New York Workers Taxi Alliance (NYTWA) issued a lawsuit suing Governor Cuomo and the New York Department of Labour (DOL) on behalf of four of their members who drive for ride-hailing apps Uber and/or Lyft.

The suit was issued in federal court for not treating app-based drivers as employees, and, as a result, paying them a lower benefit rate and delaying their applications and payments.

On 28 July, Federal Judge LaShann DeArcy Hall gave a first ruling in favour of the NYTWA, ordering the DOL to pay app-based drivers the full employee rate of UI benefits, instead of the lower rate for self-employed workers that many app drivers were getting under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

The victory now means that many App-based drivers will be eligible to receive $504 instead of $182 per week.

For thousands of Uber and Lyft drivers, the court ruling means they will receive $6,000 in back payments and then moving forward at the correct rate of up $2,016 a month in unemployment benefits. Any add-ons Congress approves during this time, such as the weekly $600 Pandemic Unemployment Compensation is on top of this.

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