On-Demand Platform Workers in New York State: The Challenges for Public Policy

Delivery Biker in New York City
New report from the Worker Institute.

“New York state can act now to shape new laws protecting on-demand platform workers. As members of the "gig economy," platform workers are often treated as less-than, without even the most basic protections at work. New York state has a unique opportunity to enact public policy to protect these workers before their exploitation intensifies.”

​Click here to download the report “On-Demand Platform Workers in New York State: The Challenges for Public Policy.” (PDF, 30 MB)

About This Report

In 2018, the Worker Institute at Cornell gathered data on the experiences of people who find work through online platforms in New York state. These online platforms – known as apps – include Uber, Lyft, Postmates and TaskRabbit. This report was written by staff of the Worker Institute at Cornell University’s ILR School and underwritten by the New York State AFL-CIO. Data was gathered through survey responses from 163 workers and interviews with 12 of the respondents.


The report found that these workers are often misclassified by employers, experience low and unstable earnings, lack benefits and are exposed to a range of health and safety hazards, most of which are uncompensated. The report also finds that New York’s regulatory structure does not provide the necessary level of oversight to curb abuse in the on-demand economy.

Summary of Recommendations

The report recommends that policymakers in New York state lead the way by making sure that on-demand platform workers are treated fairly by employers.

This includes providing such workers with statutory rights and protections in these areas:


  • Unemployment insurance
  • Workers compensation coverage
  • Wage and hour protection
  • Family and medical leave
  • Workplace health and safety
  • Withholding of taxes
  • Pension security, anti-discrimination
  • Right to organize and collectively bargain

For further details, download the full report (PDF, 9MB).

For a preliminary summary of the report, download the Impact Brief (PDF, 1MB). (PDF, 609 KB)