As a mother of four young people, my husband and I often find it difficult to make ends meet while both supporting children through college and following our own career goals. In years past, we’ve put our dreams on the backburner due to financial constraints. However, the rise of on-demand platforms has allowed us to supplement our incomes to make ends meet without falling into outdated work models with rigid requirements.
Two years ago, I decided to try making deliveries with an app-based service in Southern California. Since I already work full-time as a news editor, I find that working with an on-demand platform is an ideal way to supplement my family’s income. Working with Doordash has also empowered me to continue to pursue my goals as a screenwriter and director.
Last year, the California Supreme Court ruled in a lawsuit regarding the status of independent contractors involving a single company, called Dynamex. The Court’s decision changed the definition of an independent contractor across the state by instigating three restrictive factors to determine if a worker is an independent contractor or an employee. That ruling could alter my role as an independent worker, which would significantly impact our ability to provide for our family.
Following the Dynamex ruling, I learned that as an employee I would no longer be able to choose the times I drive with Doordash, and would be forced to work specific shifts and locations. The change in status could also limit the number of hours I’m allowed to work. As an independent contractor, I may choose to work for ten hours one week and five hours the next, based on my need and not on a scheduling system.
I understand the challenges people face as they work to provide for their own families, earn money for school, and to achieve their goals. I believe in a solution that allows people like me to maintain our independent status while creating a new earnings standard. This approach would allow gig workers to earn a livelihood for their time and effort, as well as the freedom and ability to work when and wherever they want.
I have already experienced the difficulties of shifts and scheduling, as these are the demands of my full-time job. Working as an independent contractor frees me from doubling this burden, which also calls for rigid shift scheduling. Becoming an employee would truly defeat the purposes of the gig.
In my opinion, on-demand platforms do not fit outdated models of traditional employment. The California economy embraces all types of workers, and we must have modern protections for independent contractors who wish to remain independent while earning a decent wage for our work.
California legislators are now debating ways to tackle the unique challenges of the gig economy, and I hope they consider the ideas some have put forth that protect my flexibility while creating new protections and benefits.
As independent contractors with on-demand platforms, we can quickly sign up to earn money and we have total freedom over our schedules – that’s what drew me to this type of work. I urge lawmakers to support a modern solution that preserves these work opportunities, rather than take away the supplemental income people like me have come to rely on.
Vanessa Herron is a Conejo Valley resident and driver with Doordash in the San Fernando Valley and Conejo Valley.
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