Over the past few years, we’ve seen states and other local governments pass or introduce laws to regulate the gig economy. Most recently, for example, the city of Seattle passed a law allowing the unionization of app-based gig drivers, and California introduced similar legislation called the 1099 Self-Organizing Act which would allow gig workers the right to collectively bargain for benefits and wages. Massachusetts enacted a law which implements a new background check system for gig economy rideshare companies, and New York just passed a bill the will prohibit short-term rentals on Airbnb.
Even places that have not yet passed legislation are mindful that 20th century regulations for workers must change for the 21st century economy. For example, just last month, San Francisco announced its formation of a task force to track growth in the gig economy. The city’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development will lead the task force and offer administrative and policy recommendations to the mayor and Board of Supervisors based on its findings. Despite this new wave of legislation, however, we have yet to see any attempts at a uniform set of laws to regulate these gig companies, until now.
Mayors from 10 cities across the globe, including New York, Paris, Barcelona, Toronto, Athens, and Seoul are collaborating to develop a unified “rulebook” to regulate gig employers. Representatives from these cities recently gathered together for the first time in Amsterdam to deliberate such a uniform set of regulations for gig companies in all of their cities. Paris, one of the most popular Airbnb destinations, is pushing for a first draft of the rulebook to be published by October.
While this certainly means that gig employers will have more rules to follow, if the cities are successful in their efforts, it may actually become easier for future gig companies to enter various markets and decrease resistance and the number of lawsuits they experience throughout the process. The new rules could also benefit consumers of gig companies. Customers who currently use such services may have very different experiences from one city to another. A spokesman for the New York Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development stated the hope in developing the new rules is to offer a consistent experience for all customers in each city.
Only time will tell whether other cities or states will get onboard with these efforts to create a uniform rulebook governing gig employers.