It’s hard to go to any city and not meet someone that has used or has drive for Uber. But as popular as the company is with those that give and need rides, it’s not such a popular company with city officials and taxi companies.
The fact that Uber comes under a lot of fire from taxi companies and city officials isn’t about to stop the company, though. Instead, Uber has simply found a way to play with names - and it’s working.
When Uber began, the people driving for the company were considered employees of some kind. This has since changed. Now, drivers are called ‘driver-partners.’ What’s the difference? Aside from the fact that changing the title of drivers to driver-partners makes it a lot easier for taxi companies to handle (well, kind of), it also allows Uber to skirt some employee tax laws and such.
Since Uber drivers are considered a type of partner, drivers are also considered contractors. As such, they can decide on their own hours, what to declare, and (most importantly) they can choose their own hours without worrying about whether or not they are fulfilling a certain number of employee hours. Of course, this also lets Uber tax their drivers differently - and not claim any responsibility for drivers when it comes to healthcare and other factors.
A Good Model
Uber’s way of shifting driver titles from employees to driver-partners is a brilliant business move. This allows the company to skip responsibility when it comes to paying out extra money that most companies pay for employees, and it also means that Uber can keep its drivers without paying taxi license fees and things of that nature. It might be a tad dishonest, but it’s business in its best sense - and it means that Uber can keep operating without issue in many cities around the world.
Currently, Uber is in 351 cities across the globe (that’s more than 60 countries). The company also has more than one million drivers making some extra cash from giving random people a ride around town. Uber driver-partners can make a decent amount of money on the side from working with the company, and the company continues to be one of the most successful startups around.
The Problem With Driver-Workers
Even though it may seem like everything is okay with Uber and its new driver-partners, the company now has another issue - some driver-partners in some parts of the world want worker benefits - something that the company doesn’t have to pay if the drivers are driver-workers and not just workers. In addition, Uber is fighting legal battles all over the world, which cuts into the company’s pockets rather deeply.
But, those that are driving for Uber and are happy with the new terminology (and all that comes with it) are satisfied making some extra cash, which is what Uber wanted in the first place. Do you drive for Uber? What do you think of the new driver term? Is this fair for both parties, or should Uber start treating drivers like employees?