Gig Briefs: Airbnb goes to Washington; cabs up app-based options

In brief

Cab companies enhance app-based offerings

Transdev, a French transportation company, is spending $2.8 million transforming cab companies in Jacksonville, Fla., into zTrip, a hybrid of the app-based ride companies like Uber and Lyft, and traditional cab companies. Customers can access 24-hour ride-hailing services provided by drivers with background checks. Riders can also schedule transportation ahead of time via the service. The company plans to bring similar offerings to Kansas City, Tampa, Orlando, Boulder, Austin and Pittsburg.

Federal contractors to receive paid sick leave

Federal contractors would be among the first in the gig economy to gain some workplace protections, according to a recent White House fact sheet. These contractors include those working directly or indirectly for the federal government. President Barack Obama signed an executive order on this issue a year ago, but the Department of Labor finalized the rule Sept. 29. About 1.15 million workers will be affected by the new rule.

Airbnb bulks up Washington lobbying presence

Airbnb has hired three lobbyists at the Podesta Group, a Washington-based lobbying firm. The lobbyists are working on “issues related to the sharing economy,” according to an Oct. 7 filing,  “We’re always working to educate policymakers about Airbnb and how our platform expands the economic pie for ordinary people by helping them earn extra income that they use to pay the bills,” Airbnb spokesman Nick Papas said.

Digging deeper

Political discussions light on freelancers

Despite freelancers’ increasing presence in the country, there’s almost no discussion of freelancers’ interests in the political sphere, according to a new article co-authored by Upwork’s CEO Stephane Kasriel CEO and Freelancers Union’s founder Sara Horowitz.

A recent study reveals that almost a third of U.S. workforce is made up of freelancers, and 85 percent of them said they are eager to vote. If politicians don’t address issues important to freelancers, they are overlooking one of the largest constituencies driving the U.S. workforce and economy.

Gig Briefs provides a roundup of top news and occasional long reads on the gig economy.

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