Many employers find that the gig economy can provide huge cost savings. It isn’t necessary to make payments for fixed wages or other benefits such as sick days and vacation days.
Many workers find that the gig economy may provide the freedom to work from home, as well as flexibility and a variety. However, aside from being atypically lacking in advantages, these workers also do not have legal safeguards.
The gig economy is continuing to expand. As of today there are of 59 million Americans around 36% of the population are referred to as gig workers. And it is evident that it has come for law enforcement to keep pace with realities of the economy. Both workers and employers alike appreciate the numerous freedoms that gig agreements provide. But are they fair to say that gig workers do not enjoy the protections and benefits of salaried or hourly workers?
State and Local Governments Act
Over the past three years, a number of states took measures to ensure more protection for freelancers. A few cities have also taken steps. This fall, New York passed a bill to safeguard workers who deliver food. On the 13th of June, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell made an “first across the country” law that gives gig workers better rights. In addition, it provides a minimum wage to gig workers which takes into account the costs they incur. Additionally, tips are added on top of the amount paid.
Despite the immense scale of gig economies but, nothing was happening on a scale of the national. This could be about to change.
The 20th of July saw an overwhelmingly bipartisan legislative group presented a bill, called the Worker Flexibility and Choice Act which would permit companies to keep classifying freelance employees as independent contractors and offering them legal safeguards. It will create a hybrid category of worker that does not include “employee” as well as “independent contractor.”
Is there a middle Ground?
The legislation calls for the development of “worker flexible agreements” that would be signed between gig workers. These agreements would ensure that gig workers will have similar rights to the workplace privacy, anti-discrimination laws discrimination, harassment, retaliation and safety regulations like traditional employees.
The workers would be eligible for this status if a flexibilization agreement stipulates three requirements:
- You are free to refuse an offer made by the company that is hiring without having it adversely impact the future opportunities for employment
- It is the right to complete similar work for other companies
- A contract in writing describing the rights of the worker as well as benefits
There’s the Catch
At this point the legislation sounds appealing from the gig worker’s point of view. But there’s one issue: Although workers who qualify could receive these protections and benefits but they wouldn’t be covered under federal laws governing wage and hours.
The omission, which could have been aimed at gaining more positive responses from employers, quickly targeted by labor advocates as well as labor unions. It was the Worker Power Coalition, which is the voice of 24 million workers across the U.S., called the legislation as an “anti-worker initiative that aims to harm already vulnerable workers in the gig economy.”
The Coalition for Workforce Innovation, an organization which asserts that it has employers and workers’ advocates as participants, does not agree with. “The bipartisan bill achieves the right balance for autonomy while providing greater alternatives for workers’ benefits, assistance and security,” the chairman, Evan Armstrong, said.
It is the Worker Power Coalition contends, however, that the best solution is to pass the adoption of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which has passed the House however, it was unable to pass by the Senate. The bill, which stands the lowest chance of being approved in the split Senate in the absence of Democrats getting rid of the filibuster will give gig workers the option to organize.
Because of the workers and labor-led opposition in the bill Its chances are not as good. There’s no indication that gig economies will remain in place and increase. If legislation fails then a trip back to the drawing boards could become necessary in the near future.
Numerous companies are in need of gig workers. They also need more security.
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