By CBSLA Staff

Joanna McFarland said she and her co-founders started HopSkipDrive five years ago because, as a working mom, she knew what it was like to juggle school, appointments, practices and more.

“We were desperate and we needed solutions for ourselves as full-time working moms trying to get everybody where they need to go, it was just a huge struggle,” she said.

The ride service offers safe transportation for kids ages six and up. Their CareDrivers are vetted in person, background checked and they must have 5 years of child care experience. Most of the 5,000 CareDrivers in California are women of color. McFarland says they enjoy the safety, the pre-arranged rides and the ability to choose when and for how long they want to drive. “We work with families but we also work with a lot of public entities,” she said. “We work school districts, we work with counties, helping children who are experiencing homelessness or who are in the foster care system, making sure they have school stability and can get to school.”

Like other ride hailing services, HopSkipDrive drivers are also independent contractors. This is the reason McFarland supports Proposition 22.

Prop 22 would overturn provisions of AB5, a law which requires companies who employ gig workers, like rideshare drivers, to reclassify them as employees. That would give them benefits like minimum wage, overtime and unemployment insurance. Under Prop 22, drivers would remain independent contractors but would be provided with alternative benefits.“Prop 22 gives CareDrivers what they want, which is flexibility, but also gives them benefits,” she said. “It gives them a minimum wage earnings protection — 120% of minimum wage. It gives them access to healthcare contributions, it gives them occupational accidental insurance.”

Opponents of Prop 22 say its goal is to exempt some app-based companies from providing basic rights and protections for their workers and boosting their profits by denying them a minimum wage, paid sick leave and safety protections. McFarland said if Proposition 22 does not pass, it would be very difficult to maintain their employment model.

“As more and more schools open up, school districts and families are going to need HSD more than ever,” she said.

Michaeline Mendoza has been a CareDriver for almost three years. She believes if Prop 22 fails, she will lose her job and parents who rely on the the platform will lose a valuable service too.

“I don’t want to be a full-time employee because that would not work for me,” she said. “I continue doing it because of just the love for the kids. Just me thinking of the foster youth, the single moms, I felt very needed and wanted and just like I was giving back in some capacity.”


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