This article in The Fox Magazine lists five things you can buy that are portable, even though you wouldn’t think they could be. The list includes toilets, massage chairs, saunas, neck fans, and bedrooms. The description of a portable bedroom goes like this:
Another brilliant innovation from the country that brought us the toilet in a suitcase, you can now buy a portable bedroom which comes folded up in a series of cabinets that look just like regular closets and dressers. Simply open the cabinet and fold out your bed for a super comfortable night’s sleep.
Um, no thanks.
If this article is revised next year, one surprising addition to the list could be Health Benefits for Massachusetts Independent Contractors. A new bill, inspired by California’s Prop 22, has been introduced in the Massachusetts legislature. To my surprise, the three co-sponsors are Democrats.
The bill, H. 1234, would create a exception to the strict ABC Test in Massachusetts, but only in the rideshare and delivery industries.
If the bill passes, rideshare and delivery platform companies would be required to offer occupational accident insurance and pay into a portable benefit account for drivers.
In exchange for doing so, these companies would gain assurance that drivers on their platforms are independent contractors under Massachusetts state law. The normal ABC Test would not apply. Platform companies would also be required to follow a few other basic guidelines in their interactions with drivers, including that:
- Drivers can decide when to work and not work;
- Drivers’ access to the platform cannot be terminated for declining a specific rideshare or delivery request;
- Drivers can provide services on multiple platforms; and
- Drivers can also work in another lawful occupation or business.
The bill is supported by the Massachusetts Coalition for Independent Work (and, of course, by the gig companies), and it is opposed by the Boston Independent Drivers Guild.
If passed, this would mark a significant exception to the strict ABC Test in Massachusetts, which currently presumes all working relationships to be employment, unless:
(A) the individual is free from control and direction in connection with the performance of the service, both under his contract for the performance of service and in fact; and
(B) the service is performed outside the usual course of the business of the employer; and,
(C) the individual is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession or business of the same nature as that involved in the service performed.
Unlike California’s AB 5 (later rewritten as AB 2257), the Massachusetts law does not currently have exceptions for certain industries. Rideshare and delivery services would be the first industries carved out of the Massachusetts ABC Test.
The bill is in the early stages of being considered. It has been referred to the Joint Committee on Financial Services for further consideration. We’ll keep an eye on this one. It’s much more intriguing to me than a portable bedroom or sauna.
© 2021 Todd Lebowitz, posted on WhoIsMyEmployee.com, Exploring Issues of Independent Contractor Misclassification and Joint Employment. All rights reserved.