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Uber, SEIU 775 pushing for portable benefits system

Three business leaders have announced a set of shared principals on how to create a portable benefits system for gig economy workers.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, SEIU 775 President David Rolf, and founder of Civic Venture Partners Nick Hanauer have signed a letter calling on business, labor and government to use these shared principals as a starting point for building broad-base support for a new portable benefits system at the state level.

According to the letter, a portable benefits system should be underpinned by the five following principals:

Flexibility – continuing to deliver reliable economic opportunities that are available for people when they want it and leaving them in control through establishing a system of individual accounts that follow workers and enable them to readily change the nature, structure and intensity of their work while continuing to have access to social benefits or protections

Proportionality – ensuring that any new system accounts for differentiated and diverse connections to work through proportional contributions to be developed and determined through an ongoing independent, expert-driven process that recognizes the need to promote a rising standard of living as well as healthy, profitable businesses

Universality – build more resilience in our communities by ensuring that any new scheme is universal in its application and supports the movement, growth and development of people across businesses, industries, sectors and life stages regardless of how they get work while providing businesses with legal certainty over their work arrangements

Innovation – promote the development of innovative products and systems that respond to and enhance independent work, establish open platforms to enable all organizations to compete for contributions and create arrangements for social investments from private and public sources

Independence – ensure that independence and choice are paramount in the development of any scheme and that organizations act in the best interests of individual members

The three leaders end the letter by committing to work on developing this system and call on other leaders to join the effort:

We firmly believe that renewing the social contract is both urgent and important.

We acknowledge that developing a first-of-its-kind scheme will involve business impacts, implications for worker and consumer protection, complexity in market design and regulatory framework and the need for prudential standards.

We commit to undertaking a collaborative process that involves all stakeholders and seeks to understand and account for these through data, evidence and an open process.

We call on business, labor and government in Washington state to join us in this effort, and come together to meet this critically important challenge.