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The federal government has not meaningfully measured the contingent workforce since 2005. However, two economists, Lawrence Katz (Harvard) and Alan Krueger (Princeton), conducted a 2015 survey that is currently acknowledged as the best available measurement of the contingent workforce to date. And when Monique Morrissey, an Economist with the Economic Policy Institute, testified before the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Subcommittee early last month, she cited some data from this study.

While the national debate rages on among policymakers, gig businesses, and worker advocates about whether and how to offer benefits to gig workers, some gig businesses are coming up with creative benefit offerings to meet at least some of the needs of gig workers. 

Now that the US economy is showing signs of recovery, especially in the area of job creation, some observers have noted that the pool of available contingent workers appears to be shrinking, as workers return to more traditional employment. Some commentators have pointed to this trend as a sign that the gig economy may be over. Others say: “Not so fast.” 

Gig companies – at least some – are discovering the upside to hiring W-2 employees. 

Wait, what? Well, as it turns out, for some companies that rely on repeat business, there appears to be a potential argument in favor of hiring W-2 employees instead of retaining independent contractors.

The legal theories that are being lobbed at Uber in wage-hour lawsuits across the country show no signs of letting up. Earlier this year, a group of certified limousine drivers in Eastern Pennsylvania who provide services through Uber’s “luxury” UberBLACK platform filed a FLSA suit for unpaid wages, including a claim that they were owed wages for on-call time while they were logged into the Uber app. Last week, in a colorful opinion that references Mozart’s “Magic Flute” and Verdi’s “Rigoletto,” a federal judge green-lighted plaintiffs’ theory and ordered “expedited discovery” on the issue of compensability of the plaintiffs’ on-call time. 

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