There’s a great story in today’s Bloomberg Law by Genevieve Douglas highlighting the recent trend of states permitting self-employed workers – such as gig economy contractors – to enjoy the fruits of a paid family leave program on a portable basis. This can only be good news for gig economy businesses and the gig economy as a whole. After all, as gig workers are afforded greater opportunities to enjoy the kinds of benefits (with flexibility), the number of well-qualified and higher skilled workers to join the labor pool will only grow.
Stock options, in large part, make some of the biggest public tech companies tick; a means of attracting top talent with the promise of big payouts down the road. In recent years, the gig economy has dominated the landscape in Silicon Valley and those lucky enough to land a job there have seen their personal fortunes grow overnight. Independent contractors, on the other hand – the pillars of the gig economy – have largely been left on the sidelines. That may soon change.
It’s a small step, but at least it’s progress. Federal regulators made it easier this week for gig workers to obtain health insurance on a more cost-effective basis, which should help to shore up the ranks of gig workers and make freelance work a more attractive option for a larger pool of talent.
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.