In Alabama and Georgia, Uber and Lyft Drivers Get Independent Contractor Status

All over the country, new legislation is redefining what it means to be a rideshare driver. How have Alabama and Georgia tackled the issue?
Written by Andrew Koole
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Updated on Sep 27, 2022
The work of
and food delivery drivers is more complicated to regulate than you might think. From workers' rights to
car insurance requirements
, the app-based industry creates a lot of change. The confusion has caused differing responses from state governments. 
While California, New York, and Washington recently enacted laws to give these industry’s workers access to benefits like sick leave and worker’s compensation, Alabama and Georgia are drawing the lines a little differently.
Why is the status of Grubhub, Lyft, and Uber drivers so complicated?
, your car ownership
super app
, read up on the issue to keep you informed.

Rideshare drivers: employees or independent contractors?

The honeymoon has been over for a while. While Uber and other companies began by telling people that driving for them was an easy way to make some extra cash, car insurance prices and industry regulations have proven that to not be true.
Driving for companies like DoorDash, Lyft, and Uber is hard. It requires specific, expensive insurance coverage, plenty of research on the community you serve, and acceptance that you will put a lot of extra
wear and tear
on your vehicle.
On top of that, these companies, whether focused on food delivery or taxi services, want to hire drivers as independent contractors. In most states, that status keeps them from having to offer benefits like paid sick leave and worker’s compensation in the event of an injury on the job.

How do the new laws in Alabama and Georgia change things?

The position this puts drivers in has become a concern as the relatively new industry grows. So to help drivers and apps get along, states have begun redefining the position to try to make both parties happy.
In Alabama and Georgia, that’s meant a firm description of what it means to be an independent contractor in the first place. Both states continue to define ridesharing and
food delivery
drivers under the “independent contractor” banner, but they’ve made adjustments that suit the role.
Insurance Journal
says the new laws ensure drivers the flexibility of choosing their own hours and working for multiple companies, but they also save rideshare apps from having to offer the protections that employees are legally entitled to.

How do the new laws in Alabama and Georgia compare to other states?

Alabama and Georgia’s new laws are almost identical, with only one significant exception—Alabama Governor Kay Ivey made sure drivers weren’t responsible for
liability coverage
while on the job. 
But compared to other laws put in place around the country, the new protections in the two Southern states are pretty light. In California and New York, most drivers are now considered employees. 
Washington’s law, which came into effect at the end of March, is a bit of a hybrid. It still labels drivers as independent contractors, but it also establishes a minimum wage and requires the
rideshare industry
to offer sick leave, family medical leave, and workers’ compensation.
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