As the marketplace becomes more technology driven, more and more jobs are becoming part of the gig economy. This practice is not unique to small businesses with a limited human resource budget; the practice is also part of the organizational structure of large corporations. Outsourcing jobs as gigs result in a lower operating cost for companies and reduces expenses associated with providing benefits to an employer. The result is that there is a growing number of individuals in the gig economy who are not enjoying the benefits of workers compensation benefits.
However, the gig economy is not only beneficial to the employer. Many workers are attracted to the flexibility that exists in the gig economy. The ability to set one’s own schedule and work as little or as much as they like are some of the advantages of being a gig worker. The resulting downside is that gig workers are classified as independent contractors who are required to manage his or her taxes and benefits.
Technology is creating a new and ever-changing workforce. More individuals are turning to software platforms to find jobs that will pay well but also provide flexibility. Companies like Uber, Handy, and Airbnb are giants in the gig economy. These companies provide the necessary platform for anyone to join and work in an environment where they are essentially their own boss.
The gig economy also allows workers to stay home and work from the comfort of their living room. These gigs are attractive to single moms and others who find working at home to be a far more rewarding experience. Often referred to as remote or virtual jobs, companies that offer these gigs have minimum requirements to start working and allow workers to have multiple gigs depending on their schedule.
As technology improves and companies find ways to cut operating costs, we will continue to see a growth in the gig economy. But as the workforce changes, are companies changing and improving the protection and benefits of workers?
Workers are divided into two categories, namely, employees and independent contractors. The latter is often the title given to individuals in the gig economy. But the reality is that many workers in this new and emerging workplace do not fit squarely into any one category. Additionally, many independent contractors have filed civil suits to seek employee status and protection.
However, the solution may not lie in the current classification. Shortly, we may need to look at a new category for workers that are a better reflection of the current, internet-based marketplace. The solution could also be found in a legislative framework that would provide more protection to individuals working in the gig economy. This currently exists in some states and for a limited amount of industries.
To meet the needs of workers in the gig economy, laws must be enacted to tackle their concerns. Issues relating to workers compensation, termination notice, health care, and bargaining power are urgent in a growing economy.
At Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. we possess years of experience fighting for workers compensation for our clients. Whether you are an employee or a worker in the gig economy, we can help. So if you are maimed or otherwise injured on the job due to the negligence of another, call us at (312) 236-2900 to schedule an appointment.