Prop 22: How California Regulates Platform Work

California is one of the pioneers in regulating work on digital platforms. Get to know Proposition 22 and find out what benefits it brings to workers.

Approved in a plebiscite, Prop 22 rules guarantee minimum gain
and benefits for professionals

The work in digital platforms generated wealth in the order of US$ 52 billion worldwide in 2019, according to the latest ILO report (International Labor Organization) on the topic, published in 2021. The majority (70%) of this revenue is concentrated in two countries: the United States, which receives a share of 49%, and China (23%).

This scenario shows why North American companies are starting to discuss regulation of work on platforms. One of the first initiatives for this was the Proposition 22 (or Proposition 22), approved in a plebiscite in 2020 in the state of California, the richest and most populous in the country, where 9% of Uber rides are held and 16% from Lyft, the largest private passenger transport platforms in the country.

Prop 22 classifies workers on digital transportation and delivery platforms as independent contractors —that is, as independent contractors, not as employees— and establishes rights for workers and obligations for platforms.

For this classification to be valid, platforms must meet certain requirements, such as not requiring a minimum number of hours that the professional must be connected nor making service provision requirements as a condition for maintaining access to the application. Furthermore, workers must have the autonomy to provide services for other platforms or to work in any other occupation or business.

“One of the positive points of the proposition is the guarantee of a minimum gain, an issue not yet regulated in Brazil”, says Gabriela Marcassa Thomaz de Aquino, researcher at CEPI (Center for Teaching and Research in Innovation) at FGV Direito SP, who participated of drafting a thematic briefing on the subject, which was supported by iFood.

“This minimum gain is proportional, respects the values in each region and takes into account the time that workers spend engaged on the platform, which is from the moment they accept the job until the moment they finish”, he assesses.

Regulation under debate

Another relevant point in the text, according to Gabriela, is the concern with the transparency of platforms in their decisions in relation to workers. “Contracts between the parties should, for example, provide the reasons for the suspension of platform workers, which in turn should allow workers to request more information or appeal the suspension.”

She believes the California text could inspire Brazilian regulation debate on work on platforms. “Our legislators should look at issues such as guaranteeing decent work, with minimum remuneration, rest time and insurance in case of accidents, so that professionals have an income when they cannot work.”

Prop 22 supersedes previous legislation, approved in 2019, which understood that workers were platform employees and would therefore be entitled to unemployment insurance and other benefits.

Despite being approved in a plebiscite, Prop 22 still generates controversy. In August 2021, a California Supreme Court judge found the text unconstitutional. The digital platforms filed an appeal and managed to suspend the judge's decision. “The proposition is still valid. But it is an example that legislating on the topic does not mean the end of the discussion”, says Gabriela. “On the contrary, it may just be the beginning.”

What Proposition 22 says

Freedom for workers
Platforms cannot define dates, times and minimum time that workers must be logged in nor require them to accept any specific service. Professionals are free to provide services for other platforms or have their own job or business.

Minimum gain
Workers receive a minimum wage, determined by the state, and applicable to all the time they spent completing the work.

Journey limitation
Workers cannot be logged in for more than 12 hours in a 24-hour period — unless they have been logged out for 6 uninterrupted hours. Anyone who exceeds this journey is prohibited from returning to the digital platform until they complete the 6-hour uninterrupted break.

Take care of your health
One of the benefits guaranteed to workers is the health care subsidy, paid quarterly by the platforms according to the workers' time engaged per week.

Platforms must offer insurance against accidents at work (covering medical expenses and loss of income in case of injuries suffered while workers are online) and accidental death insurance for dependents.

Transparent contract
The agreement signed between the platform and the workers determines that the company cannot terminate the contract for reasons that are not described in the document and that it must provide an appeal procedure for workers to be suspended.

Against sexual harassment
The proposition obliges platforms to have a policy against sexual harassment that meets requirements such as identifying sexual harassment and prohibiting professionals from engaging in this practice, in addition to having a channel to receive complaints from professionals and clients.


To learn more about Prop 22, Access the full thematic briefing here prepared by CEPI FGV-SP.

Read more:

FGV Direito SP survey reveals the challenges of regulation in Gig Economy in Brazil

Around the world: regulation of work on digital platforms

How Brazil discusses new laws for platform work

Latin America debates new laws for platform work

iFood clarifies doubts about deactivations of delivery people on the platform

Was this content useful to you?

Related posts