Benefits for gig workers is a murky topic but as the number of these workers increase, more light is being shown on the need for benefits in this workspace.
Gig workers—also known as independent contractors, on-demand workers, and freelancers—enjoy a large degree of flexibility that can enable a great work-life balance. According to the ADP Research Institute’s 2016 Evolution of Work report, 88 percent of companies and organizations will exclusively hire freelance workers on a project-by-project basis.
Flexibility Comes with a Price
Gig workers are not considered employees. They are not guaranteed a schedule, they are not covered by the Fair Labor Standard Act’s protections regarding minimum wage and overtime pay, and they are not protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which enables workers to bargain collectively with employers. The employers of contract workers are not obligated to offer benefits, such as paid vacation time, health insurance, unemployment insurance, pension plans, or sick leave – at least for now.
Federal Bill Benefiting Gig Workers Introduced
Earlier this year, two United States senators presented the very first federal bill that tackles benefits and the on-demand workforce.
Called the Portable Benefits for Gig Economy Workers Act and introduced by Senator Mark Warner and Senator Suzan DelBene, the bill comes during a time when an increasing number of workers rely on contract work and do not have employer-provided benefits including health insurance, Workers’ Compensation, or retirement funds.
The bill asks the Secretary of Labor to place $20 million in grants toward a subsidized national incubator. Local non-profits and governments could then apply for grant money to help them craft programs to provide benefits to contract workers.
A critical aspect of the bill is that it entails eligible applicants of these grants to create programs that include much more than retirement benefits. Applicants would need to address a plethora of benefits, such as healthcare, disability, and workers’ compensation.
Many experts think that the bill has a good chance of passing as $20 million is a small percent of the proposed $4.1 trillion federal budget. The Freelancer’s Union, as well as many other unions, are on board with this bill.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Gross Represent All Injured WorkersIf you need a Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyer, contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Gross by calling 215-629-7225 or 215-512-1500 or complete our online contact form. Our office is in Philadelphia and we proudly represent clients throughout Pennsylvania.