Chasing Work Shouldn’t Be So Hard
Over 74 million Americans now work as freelancers, independent contractors, and gig workers, rather than solely as employees of one company or organization. The workplace and workforce are changing rapidly, as workers demand more flexibility and freedom.
These arrangements allow workers to have greater control of their schedules and work. They get to decide when, with whom, and how much they work. They have the freedom to develop a relationship with more than one company, which can create additional financial security, since they don’t have to rely entirely on any one entity for their income. And the rise of new technologies has made it easier than ever to set up these arrangements.
Of course, independent contractors give up some upsides of being full-time employees: They don’t receive traditional benefits, like paid time off or access to an employers’ health insurance. But many people think this trade off is worth it. Parents who want the flexibility to schedule work time around their family lives, for example, often prefer work as an independent contractor to a typical 9-to-5 employee relationship.
Despite the growing needs and demands for flexible work arrangements, some policy leaders want to severely restrict when people can work as independent contractors, freelancers, and gig workers.
California imposed the most significant restrictions on independent contractors, with a law known as Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), which forced millions of workers into having to make an all-or-nothing choice about whether to be an employee or not to work at all. Thousands had no choice, as many businesses couldn’t afford to offer all independent contractors formal employment opportunities, so they had to let them go.
California is not alone. Several other states are considering similar restrictions, and the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation (the Protecting the Right to Organize or PRO Act) that would have imposed AB5-style restrictions on the entire country. Federal regulators at the Department of Labor have proposed new restrictions on all independent contractors as well.
This is the wrong direction for workers. Not all workers want 9-to-5 jobs. Many workers value flexibility, freedom, and empowerment over their time and schedule.
It’s time to fight for worker flexibility and freedom.