Florida Enacts First-of-Its-Kind Law Classifying Most Ride-Share Drivers as Independent Contractors

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor

May 10, 2017

Florida's governor on May 9 signed a new law that will make it easier for ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft to classify their drivers as independent contractors.

Effective July 1, 2017, a driver for a Transportation Network Company (TNC) - defined as a company that uses a digital network to connect customers with drivers who provide prearranged rides - will be considered an independent contractor and not an employee as long as:

  • The TNC does not unilaterally prescribe specific hours during which the driver must be logged on to the TNC's digital network;
  • The TNC does not prohibit the driver from using other TNCs' digital networks;
  • The TNC does not restrict the driver from engaging in any other occupation or business; and
  • The TNC and the driver agree in writing that the driver is an independent contractor with respect to the TNC.

The law also will require TNCs to obtain certain insurance coverage for drivers and customers and to implement a zero-tolerance policy for drug or alcohol use, among other things.

"Florida is one of the most business-friendly states in the nation because of our efforts to reduce burdensome regulations and encourage innovation and job creation across all industries, including transportation," Florida Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement. "I look forward to seeing the continued growth of [ride-sharing] companies in our state."