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Posts from April 2017.

I wrote an article yesterday about the new law that is about to signed by Florida Governor Rick Scott that will ensure ride-sharing drivers are classified as independent contractors and not employees. You can check out the full article here. The key is that gig companies will have this protection from misclassification claims so long as they...

There is no question that America’s sharing — or “gig” — economy is growing and showing no signs of slowing down. Studies estimate that approximately 55 million people work on freelance arrangements in the United States today. And not only are gig-based business models such as Uber, TaskRabbit and Postmates popping up on a daily basis, traditional employers are also becoming increasingly comfortable with hiring greater numbers of workers on a project or consulting basis. Another recent study concluded that 40 percent of companies are already hiring workers on project-specific terms rather than under a traditional employment model.

As we’ve previously reported, the gig economy is an attractive work model for many women who are looking for flexible work arrangements. Despite some drawbacks to gig work (including a lack of job security, benefits and paid leave), recent data indicates that women are flocking to gig jobs in droves. Earlier this month, Hyperwallet released the results of its survey of 2,000 female gig workers in the United States. The survey results provide an interesting perspective as to the average female gig worker, including her motivations for leaving the traditional workforce and the long-term potential for gig work.

This is a big deal The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals came down in favor of a sharing economy business in a misclassification case yesterday, ruling that a group of black-car drivers were independent contractors and not employees, therefore not entitled to overtime pay. My partner Michael Marra and I wrote an article about the decision, which you can find here.

Driven by a scarcity of qualified talent and the need for their companies to be increasingly agile and cost-effective, human resources (HR) leaders are increasing their focus on and preparing to embrace the mounting gig economy. According to software company Oracle, almost 40% of companies surveyed are currently hiring on a temporary or project basis, but that may be just the veritable tip of the iceberg. Half of HR decision makers say they will be hiring more workers on a project basis by 2020.  

My colleague Adam Bridgers wrote a fantastic piece for our April firm newsletter: “Will Workplaces Be Going Off The Rails On The Blockchain?” I highly recommend you take five minutes out of your day and give it a read.

If you are asking, “What’s a Blockchain?” – it’s time you educated yourself. One day you may look back with amusement that you even asked this question, the same way you probably chuckle when you picture yourself in 1994 asking “What’s an internet?” According to Adam’s article, Blockchain technology will soon lead to a similar “seismic revolution in our society,” similar to the way the world wide interwebs has changed nearly every facet of our lives over the past 20 years.

Recently, the on-demand economy has made the news for the best reason possible: saving victims of human trafficking.

In December 2016, an Uber driver in California alerted police after becoming concerned that his recent passenger may be in danger. The Uber driver heard suspicious comments from two of his passengers about a third passenger – an underage girl – being delivered to a hotel for money. Thanks to a prompt call to the authorities, the police arrived and arrested several people in connection with “pimping and pandering.” The underage girl was rescued from the situation. 

Not two weeks ago, we discussed several active court cases seeking to challenge the City of Seattle’s first-of-its-kind ordinance aimed at unionizing ride-sharing drivers, pointing out that the battle was about to reach a critical point. We’re happy to report that a federal court struck a blow against the ordinance yesterday and blocked it from proceeding for the time being. While this is just the first step in what is sure to be a long and complex fight, and it is only temporary in nature, it is incredibly positive news and a step in the right direction.

We’ve written before about a proposal in New York that would permit gig companies to pay into a benefit fund for workers allowing them freedom to develop portable benefits; now, Washington state is considering a similar concept. House Bill 2109, introduced in this legislative session, would take a giant leap by creating portable, prorated, universal benefits for workers in the sharing economy.  Proposed by Washington state Rep. Jessyn Farrell (D), the bill would require sharing economy companies to contribute money toward a benefits system for independent contractors who work on their platforms. According to a report from the Pew Charitable trusts, she says the law would “maintain the flexibility employees and employers like about contingent work.”

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