Gig Work is Booming, But Are You Covered?

25 Jun 2024

The gig economy is booming, and it's easy to see why. Flexible hours, being your own boss, and working from anywhere sounds pretty great, right? But before you dive headfirst into the world of gig work, there are some important things you need to know.


One of the most significant issues facing gig workers is misclassification. In a nutshell, this means companies label workers as "independent contractors" when they should legally be considered employees. Why does this matter? Because it means companies can dodge their responsibility to provide benefits like health insurance, paid time off, and overtime pay. It also means they're not contributing to your Social Security or Medicare, leaving you to foot the bill come tax time.

Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that a staggering 10.3% of U.S. workers engage in some form of gig work. While this number is impressive, it also highlights the vast number of individuals who may be vulnerable to misclassification and the lack of protections that come with it.

Take the example of rideshare drivers. While they enjoy the flexibility of setting their own hours, they often lack basic worker protections. If a driver gets into an accident, they're often left to cover their own medical expenses and may even be deactivated from the platform, losing their income source. Similarly, delivery drivers who work for food delivery apps often face grueling hours, low pay, and little recourse if they're injured on the job.

Insurance coverage & Contracts

Another major concern for gig workers is the lack of insurance coverage. Most gig platforms don't offer health insurance, disability insurance, or workers' compensation. This means if you get sick or injured, you're on your own to cover the costs. A recent study by the Freelancers Union found that Access to affordable healthcare is the #1 concern for freelancers\gig workers.

Contracts can also be a major issue. Those lengthy agreements are often full of legal jargon and may not be in your best interest. It's important to read everything carefully and understand what you're agreeing to before you sign on the dotted line.

So, what can you do to protect yourself?

First, know your rights. Research the labor laws in your area and make sure you understand the difference between an employee and an independent contractor. If you think you've been misclassified, don't be afraid to speak up or seek legal advice.

Next, get your financial ducks in a row. Keep track of your income and expenses, and consider talking to a tax professional to make sure you're on the right track. It's also a good idea to explore options for affordable health insurance and other types of coverage.

If you're looking for a more secure gig work experience, consider working with companies that partner with an Employer of Record (EOR). An EOR can act as your legal employer, taking care of things like payroll, taxes, and benefits while you still enjoy the flexibility of gig work.

Finally, don't be afraid to ask questions and negotiate for better terms. If something in a contract doesn't seem right, speak up and ask for clarification. You can also connect with other gig workers in your field to share experiences and resources.

The gig economy can be a great way to make a living, but it's important to go in with your eyes open. By understanding the risks and taking steps to protect yourself, you can enjoy the flexibility and freedom of gig work while safeguarding your financial future.

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