For many, a new year brings new resolutions – a forward-looking plan and commitment to resolve issues, implement changes, and create new strategies for success. Businesses are no different. The gig market has been on the rise for several years now, and shows no signs of slowing down. Companies using little-to-no gig workers may want to reconsider their business plans, as these workers can provide many benefits to all different types of organizations across varying industries.
When a friend took Van McCoy to New York City’s Adam’s Apple bar to watch an underground dance known as the “Hustle,” Van knew he had struck gold. In one hour, Van had written the future wedding reception staple “The Hustle.” With its only lyrics “Do the Hustle,” the song reigned supreme on the Billboard Charts of 1975. As stated in his Associated Press obituary, the Hustle was “a revolutionary dance… highly stylized and more sophisticated than the more ‘hang loose’ dances of the decade, such as the bump and the boogaloo.” Van’s album “Disco Baby” spread this revolution from the basements of New York City dancehalls to the hi-fi’s of middle America.
In an effort to head off litigation by workers claiming they have been misclassified as contractors, companies using a largely on-demand workforce have been working with the New York State Assembly to develop a system of portable benefits to provide occasional workers with some level of benefits that would be available to them despite not being attached to a particular employer.
The first shot was fired by the City of Seattle last year when it passed an ordinance intended to assist with the unionization of ride-sharing drivers. The ordinance was groundbreaking in that it is the first of its kind in the country. The ordinance was also seen as controversial because it remains to be seen whether such a regulation could comply with national labor laws. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce tried to join the fight by filing a lawsuit against the City, claiming the ordinance violated antitrust and labor laws. But a federal judge dismissed that lawsuit by concluding that the Chamber didn’t have standing to pursue the claims, and even if it did, that no damage had yet been done and so the lawsuit was premature.
There has been significant buzz lately regarding the risk of discrimination in the sharing economy. Not only has the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published its intent to prioritize protections in the on-demand economy in its recently published Strategic Enforcement Plan, but sharing economy businesses have faced additional scrutiny surrounding response times to customers of different races.
With one of his last official actions as Secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez published a “Memorandum to the American People” touting his accomplishments over the past four years and providing his suggestions for the incoming administration. Given how diametrically opposed he is to his replacement, you might think the forward-looking portion of the memo would be ignored or recycled without review by Andrew Puzder. But the section on the gig economy repeats two of the most common refrains that we have heard about the evolving workforce and what we might need in the near future, so don’t be surprised if you see some follow-through on these calls to action.
Jeff Wald just published an interesting piece in Forbes looking at the top five predictions for the freelance economy in 2017. Given that he touts himself as having “near-precise prognostication,” how could we possibly ignore this article? Let’s take a look at his five predictions, and I’ll offer my own sage wisdom regarding each of them.
The interest in working a series of gig jobs instead of traditional employment is certainly taking America by storm. Many articles and studies are exploring this trend as if it is a brand new adventure. A recent survey by HR staffing provider, Randstad, indicates a preference by younger workers (Gen Z and Millennials) to work in a more flexible work environment. The same survey included 1,500 HR and C-suite executives across the U.S., finding that 75% of the executives agree the majority of their workforce will be employed in an alternative work arrangement by 2025.