DoorDash Inc. and Instacart Inc. drivers may be about to get paid in a way that’s long been reserved for executives: with corporate stock.
Under a plan announced Tuesday by the Securities and Exchange Commission, drivers, people who deliver food and other so-called gig workers who’ve become a critical part of the U.S. economy will be eligible to receive up to 15% of their compensation in shares.
The SEC proposal, which is mostly focused on pre-public companies, would also amend securities rules to make it easier for the businesses running apps to issue stock to those workers — many of whom are classified as independent contractors instead of employees.
The issue of how to define workers whose wages rely on apps from companies like Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. has been the subject of intense legal and regulatory wrangling. Earlier this month, those firms, as well as Instacart, DoorDash and Postmates Inc., won a key referendum in California to allow them to keep compensating their drivers as independent contractors.
The SEC plan will be open for 60 days of public comment. Finalizing the rule would fall to an SEC chairman picked by President-elect Joe Biden, with new leadership potentially scuttling the proposal or significantly rewriting it.
“Work relationships have evolved along with technology, and workers who participate in the gig economy have become increasingly important to the continued growth of the broader U.S. economy,” SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, who will step down at the end of the year, said in the statement. The proposal aims to let those workers participate “in the growth of the companies that their efforts support.”
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