CA Judge Throws Gig Economy Costs Into Question (Again)

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The most important thing in tech today is …

a California judge ruled against a 2020 ballot measure that allowed gig economy companies to continue classifying their workers as contractors, calling it unconstitutional and unenforceable.

The decision from Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch is far from the last word; a coalition of companies including Uber, DoorDash and Instacart intends to appeal. But it adds another wrinkle of uncertainty to the tech-connected labor market, as employers begin imposing vaccine mandates and rewriting return-to-office schedules because of the COVID Delta variant.

Why does it matter?

The question is what will happen to tech productivity and profits. Gig-economy companies had hoped to focus on profitable growth in a post-pandemic recovery; many other tech companies had been hoping to get most workers back into offices and on new schedules by October.

Now with gig worker status again an open question and many office returns postponed until 2022, tech employers face challenge crafting plans and estimating costs.

Coming up today on CNBC’s TechCheck, 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT …

Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski

While you were sleeping …

Bitcoin hit $50,000 on Sunday to reach a more than 3-month high, as the cryptocurrency continues to rebound. CNBC

Afghanistan still mostly operates as a cash economy, so money in Hotak’s crypto wallet won’t help him put dinner on his table tonight, but it does give him peace of mind that some of his wealth is safeguarded against economic instability at home. CNBC

In the broader world …

Wages for hourly limited-service restaurant workers climbed 10% in the second quarter compared with a year ago, according to a new report from industry tracker Black Box Intelligence and Snagajob. CNBC

On the horizon …

Today, 1 p.m. ET: Fortt Knox 1:1 with Upsolve CEO Rohan Pavuluri

I’m listening to …