(Bloomberg) -- Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is pushing to strengthen the labor rights of drivers for Uber Technologies Inc and similar passenger transport apps, taking on a challenge that has vexed lawmakers around the world.

Lula on Monday sent congress a legislative proposal that sets new pay and hour rules for companies like Uber and 99, a ride-hailing app owned by Beijing-based Didi Global. The bill, the first major labor proposal the former union leader has put forth since he and US President Joe Biden launched an initiative to improve working conditions last September, defines drivers’ status as autonomous workers and will limit them to a 12-hour workday for the platforms. 

It establishes an hourly pay rate of 32.09 reais ($6.49) and sets a monthly minimum of 1,412 reais, equivalent to the current minimum wage. It also sets percentages for worker and company contributions to social security programs, and includes fines of as much as roughly 140,000 reais for companies found in violation of the rules.

The growth of the gig economy has forced lawmakers, regulators and courts to determine the rights of workers at companies like Uber under existing labor laws. The European Union’s years-long effort to implement new regulations failed last month, when the bloc was unable to win support for a bill many platforms opposed. The US and UK have in recent years implemented new regulations or had top court rulings define the status and rights of Uber drivers and other gig workers.

Lula promised to implement stronger labor protections during his 2022 presidential campaign. In September, he and Biden agreed to work together to bolster workers’ rights, with challenges related to the gig economy a central part of their pact. 

Read More: Biden, Lula Launch Partnership to Improve Conditions for Workers

Lula’s initial proposal, which needs approval from both houses of Brazil’s congress, only applies to ride-hailing apps like Uber and 99, and does not include workers for delivery platforms or other similar services.

“Some time ago no one in this country believed that it would be possible to establish a negotiation between workers and entrepreneurs and the result would be to conclude by a different organization in the world of work,” Lula said in a speech.

The president said the government will also begin discussing with banks a special credit line for the roughly 1.5 million app workers.

The companies “actively participated” in the drafting of the text, Brazil Labor Minister Luiz Marinho said in an interview. He expects lawmakers to approve the bill in the first half of this year, given that Lula is submitting it with a request for urgency.

“I hope this influences delivery platforms to participate in negotiations,” Marinho said by phone Sunday. “When you have the parties agreeing, you won’t have Uber and 99 lobbying against it.”

Marinho argued that the legislation will bring legal certainty to companies that have faced at least 17,000 labor court lawsuits seeking to recognize the relationship between workers and platforms, according to Brazil’s attorney’s general office.

Andre Porto, a spokesperson for Amobitec, an association that represents mobility and technology platforms in Brazil, said companies will not work for changes in the agreed bill.

“There is full agreement with the text,” he told journalists after the proposal was disclosed.

(Updated with the submission of the proposal to the congress in second, statements from the president and the representative of the platforms throughout)

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