Two Uber drivers in New York are eligible for unemployment, which could threaten Uber's business model

Uber protesters REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Two Uber drivers have been ruled eligible for unemployment payments as employees instead of independent contractors, marking a big win for workers in the gig economy.

The New York Times reports that the two drivers received a ruling in August and September from the New York State Department of Labor, which states that the two drivers can receive unemployment payments, something not typically available to independent contractors.

According to the Times, this ruling applies "only to their unemployment insurance claims and do not directly affect other drivers or extend to other protections normally accorded employees."

But the ruling could be a step toward changing how drivers are classified, an issue that has plagued Uber and other companies in the on-demand space for years. If drivers can be classified as employees in this instance, advocates may start pushing for further changes to the way drivers are classified by companies in the on-demand space.

Uber says it plans to appeal the rulings.


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