Uber drivers in six major U.S. cities would receive paid holidays and health care benefits worth an average of $5,500 a year, plus thousands more in mileage reimbursement, if the company provided them with the same benefits as its full-time employees, according to a new NerdWallet study.
The California Labor Commissioner’s Office ruled in June that Barbara Berwick, who worked as an Uber driver for just under two months, was an employee of the company rather than a contractor. The ruling ordered Uber to reimburse Berwick $3,878 for mileage and tolls plus $274 in interest.
Similarly, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity decided in May that former Uber driver Darrin McGillis had been an employee, entitling him to unemployment benefits, according to a report in the Miami Herald.
While both decisions apply to the individuals involved only and Uber is appealing, if upheld, drivers across the nation could be motivated to seek status as full-time Uber employees.
The decisions related specifically to expenses and unemployment insurance. Drivers stand to gain even more if Uber recognizes them as full-time employees. Based on what Uber offers employees, drivers might expect:
- Fully covered health insurance, including dental and vision benefits
- Nine paid holidays
- Business-driving reimbursement
Although the current rulings only apply to a few individuals, it may set a precedent for all drivers in the future. This analysis, while an estimate, is still an indicator of how much money is at stake.
Jeffrey Chu is an analyst covering insurance for NerdWallet. NerdWallet staff writer Aubrey Cohen contributed to this article. NerdWallet is a consumer-focused website dedicated to saving people money every day by helping them make better, more informed financial decisions.