Topic of the Week The Gig Economy and It's Workers
The gig economy is transforming the way work is performed. On-demand drivers, dog walkers, and freelance writers are only a few examples. There has also been the emergence of various gig platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, and Guru which enable the organization or individuals to recruit freelancers. Though gig work offers flexibility and autonomy for workers, they don’t have the traditional benefits (e.g., health insurance and a 401k) that employees have.1. What is a gig worker?
A gig worker is someone who earns their income outside of the employee-employer relationship. The work can be project-based, hourly, or part-time. There are several types of gig workers: independent contractors, online platform workers (e.g., Uber and Lyft), contract firm workers, temp workers, and on-call workers. Gig workers, as they are classified for tax purposes, receive 1099 forms when they work for companies without being a direct employee. Payroll taxes are not deducted in the 1099 form, and many of the traditional rules, regulations, and benefits like healthcare that apply to direct employment relationships do not apply.
2. Why are universal rights for gig workers a racial justice issue?
Hispanic adults are more likely than other racial or ethnic groups to have done gig work: 30% of this group have ever earned money through an online gig platform, compared with 20% of Black adults, 19% of Asian adults and even smaller shares of White adults (12%). Overall and within age groups, Hispanic and Black Americans are more likely than White Americans to have ever earned money doing any online gig platform work. See the Pew Research Center for more information.