How Washington can get better wages & better benefits in the gig economy

You’ve heard about the “gig economy,” right? It refers to the new model of work where apps like Instacart, Lyft, Uber, Postmates — and dozens more — hire workers for on-demand services. Gig economy work can include on-demand drivers, delivery people, home cleaners, child care workers...and just about any other service you can think of.

The Center for American Progress has just released a report about workers’ rights in the gig economy, and it's a big step in making sure gig workers are included in the national conversation about workers’ rights!

If you're not ready to slog through the full report just yet, here are the basics. The report explains that workers in the gig economy often don’t have access to the same benefits and protections that every worker needs because the companies choose to classify them as “independent contractors.” And it points out that contractors like gig workers increasingly say they desire both the flexibility of gig work AND needed benefits.

It also makes three basic recommendations for policies that cities & states can pass to protect gig economy workers:

  1. A minimum wage that covers independent contractors.

  2. Creating a way for gig workers to access needed benefits (like health insurance, unemployment, and more).

  3. Creating a board that brings together workers, companies, & the government to set labor standards in the gig economy.

Now that you know a little bit about work in the gig economy, what do YOU think about these recommendations? Take our quick poll to let us know what you’re thinking!

Another cool piece of news that’s tied to this: WA is already hard at work on recommendation #2! WA State Rep. Monica Stonier has announced that she’s going to introduce a bill in the WA Legislature to give gig workers access to benefits.

That means WA could lead the way on workers’ rights in the gig economy — just like we’ve led the way on raising the minimum wage, making sure all workers have access to paid sick days and paid family leave, & more.