In Colorado and across the United States, more and more people every year seem to join the growing gig economy. Whether driving a vehicle for a ride hailing service or performing some other type of work as an independent contractor, many workers have learned that there can be startling disadvantages to their willingness to work hard and attempts to make it on their own.
According to the Harvard Business Review, as many as 40% of workers in America today fall into the classification of gig economy workers. Some of these people work in a full-time capacity as independent contractors, freelancers or other classifications. Others hold regular full-time jobs and perform their contract or gig work on the side to earn extra money. A great percentage of people do this out of the need to make ends meet.
As explained by Quarts, gig economy workers perform many tasks seemingly essential in today’s marketplace yet they are denied many of the most basic protections those who work as employees in a full-time capacity enjoy. They cannot claim unemployment or workers’ compensation benefits. They do not get health insurance coverage from an employer. Paid time off and family leave are off the table. They have no protection against harassment or discrimination at work.
The realities faced by people who choose to take the leap to work on their own seems at odds with the spirit of entrepreneurialism that the nation was founded on. Even the new tax code kept the self-employment tax in place, a tax that makes many gig economy workers feel essentially punished.