A third of US workforce opts for gig work, foregoing employer benefits 

A third of US workforce opts for gig work, foregoing employer benefits 

America has seen record growth in its gig economy — workers who are contracted, on-call, temporary or self-employed — as gig work now accounts for a third of U.S. employment.  With gig work up 34 percent from its 2020 levels, the shift also means that more employees bear the risks of not having benefits like healthcare coverage and paid vacation, according to Vox.

However, the surge of new independent employees includes workers that also hold a full-time position, with 75 percent of new gig workers looking to supplement their current income.  Vox reports that while the volatility and uncertainty of gig work — including no minimum wage or employer-sponsored benefits — makes it riskier, it comes with benefits of choice ranging from hours to location. 

“Freelancers don’t have the social safety net to rely on to get them through the weeks or months that they’re out of work,” said Rafael Espinal, executive director of the Freelancers Union. Mr. Espinal proposed creating “portable benefits,” which would provide gig workers with benefits like healthcare coverage regardless of their employment status. 

States like California have gone back and forth between requiring employers to provide contracted employees with the same benefits as regular employees. However, there seems to be little clarity on if either stance will stick permanently.

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