The conversation around working from home has changed so dramatically in the last few years that it’s worth remembering that many men and women (myself included) oriented their careers around it long before the pandemic.

At least 58 million Americans now work as freelancers, independent contractors, and gig workers (instead of being employees of just one company or organization)—and I’m one of them!

Even though I worked in mostly traditional office settings throughout my 20s, I always planned to work from home once I became a mother.

My husband and I decided the downsides (no paid time off, benefits, etc.) are well worth it for me to have the flexibility I need to care for my family, be present for my children, and enjoy the freedom to set my own schedule and workload. So while I know this isn’t the arrangement many other American families make, it’s one I am so grateful to enjoy every day—and I’m certainly not alone.

Sadly, some women don’t have these choices and must work full-time in an office, away from their children. This incurs other costs—commuting/tolls, parking, child care, not to mention the added stress of being apart from one’s children all day.

The toll this is taking on women is clear. A CNBC survey in March revealed that working women are overwhelmed with work. More than half of working women (56%) say their mental health suffers from burnout at their job.  Many cite the rising cost of groceries and everyday items for their choice to work longer hours. 

Instead of recognizing the stress working women are under, Rep. Don Beyer celebrated the news—claiming it’s evidence that Bidenomics is working: 

Perhaps Rep. Beyer (and other policymakers claiming to support women) should consider that more women would pursue a work-from-home arrangement if they faced fewer obstacles in their path

A report last year confirmed that 9 in 10 women say they want to work primarily remotely.

Yet when stay-at-home moms are forced back into the office, a staggering 93% say they’re up against serious challenges. 

It shouldn’t be this way. But instead of easing the regulatory burden on these women, many of the very same policymakers and officials who claim to want to “empower women” are pushing legislation that would place even more restrictions on them and make it even harder to secure remote work.

Consider what happened when California imposed Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) on independent contractors a few years ago. Because of new restrictions, millions of workers were forced to choose whether to remain an employee or not work at all. Since very few businesses could provide formal employment opportunities to all their independent contractors, thousands of workers were let go across the state.

Despite this clear policy failure, several other states are now considering implementing similar restrictions. Even worse, Congress is considering the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which would impose AB5-style restrictions on the entire country. 

Patrice Onwuka, director of the Center for Economic Opportunity at Independent Women’s Forum, said it best: “AB5 has been devastating for women.” She explained that flexible work “allows women and men who choose not—or cannot—work in a traditional job, whether for caregiving, health, or other reasons, to stay employed…”

IWF is helping amplify the stories of workers impacted by job-killing regulations (hear them here—and share your own) because their freedom deserves our protection.

Because personally, I am NOT going back to the 9-5. Give me work-from-home options or give me death.