The United States is expected to see a shortage of 40,000 to 104,000 physicians by 2030. Due to this anticipated need for primary care physicians, freelance work among the healthcare industry is becoming increasingly popular. For the longest time, temporary positions could only be obtained through brokers and agencies. But dealing with these middlemen proved to be more trouble than it was worth. For physicians, it was a lengthy and time-consuming process; for healthcare providers, it was a costly endeavor just to find interested workers.
Bloomberg BNA reporter Madison Alder has written an eye-opening article that suggests the possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could force many gig economy workers to abandon their freelance lifestyle and secure full-time work. Gig companies everywhere should read the piece and start planning for how this possible legislative action could impact their organizations.
The gig economy has exploded in the last few years as more workers embrace side jobs and flexibility of assignments. New studies reveal that this trend should continue into the future. In fact, research group Recode has reported that the number of on-demand workers in the United States alone is expected to nearly double by 2021. That would equal at least 9.2 million Americans working an on-demand job – more Americans than are expected to work in more traditional employment stables such as construction.
A federal court judge in North Carolina last week granted permission to a group of Uber drivers challenging the company’s classification structure to band together and proceed with a class action lawsuit against the ride-hailing company.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. This mantra holds true for California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher. In February 2017, Gonzalez Fletcher introduced Assembly Bill 1099 – appropriately named for the IRS Form 1099 that independent contractors and gig workers receive each year. AB 1099 has recently passed the State Assembly, and is now pending before the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee. Specifically, AB 1099 would require companies that accept credit card payments to allow patrons to leave gratuities by credit card as well.
GrubHub, the food delivery app, has been in a legal battle with a former delivery driver over the driver’s classification as an independent contractor since 2015. Initially filed as a class action in state court in San Francisco, the case was removed to federal court where U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Corley of the Northern District of California ruled in 2016 that the case would not proceed as a class action. In the most recent news from the case, Judge Corley indicated that the case will proceed to a bench trial on the key issue of whether the driver was properly treated as an independent contractor or whether the driver should have been a W2 employee. Like Lyft and Uber, GrubHub utilizes on demand workers – who are treated as independent contractors – through smartphone apps. So a trial decision in the GrubHub case would certainly have a major impact on these and other gig-economy companies.
Gig employers returning from the Fourth of July holiday were in for a rude awakening when they learned about the fireworks that just went down in a California federal court. Right before the holiday weekend, Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley denied GrubHub’s request to have a misclassification case tossed from court. She has now scheduled it for a bench trial to begin September 5. At stake: a decision from a federal judge about whether those who perform work for one of the largest on-demand companies are independent contractors or employees.