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As President-elect Joe Biden prepares to assume the role of Commander in Chief, it’s important to understand policy changes he may implement. One of them is particularly concerning for independent contractors thriving in the age of a fairly robust gig economy, effects of the COVID-19 pandemic notwithstanding.
Before the election, Biden encouraged California voters to vote against Proposition 22, which exempted employers like DoorDash, Lyft, and Uber, from abiding by the regulations in AB5, the bill that required employers to classify their workers as employees rather than independent contractors, making it more difficult for them to work. Biden and Harris supported AB5.
Despite Biden’s pleas, Proposition 22 passed overwhelmingly, protecting independent contractors from regulations that would restrict the hours they work. But that doesn’t mean freelancers fears’ are over.
Biden has said he supports the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act on his campaign website. The PRO Act is similar to California’s AB5 in that it would use the same three-pronged ABC to decide who can be classified as a freelancer and how much they can work, but this is a federal law that would largely obliterate independent contractor jobs and the gig economy.
CNBC reported, “The PRO Act, heavily supported by Democrats, would weaken right-to-work laws in states that let employees opt out of participating in unions and paying union dues. It also gives the National Labor Relations Board the ability to fine companies that retaliate against workers for organizing and give collective bargaining rights to many workers who do not have them now.”
This is unacceptable to a portion of the American economy who chooses to work as an independent contractor and thrives, whether it’s single parents, people who need to make additional income, or people who need to work flexible, random hours because they are caring for an elderly parent, spouse, or children.
CNBC also reported a recent Upwork survey, Freelance Forward 2020, “found that 59 million Americans did some form of freelancing in 2019, up 2 million from the year before.” This means some 59 million Americans, or 1 in 5, do anything from photography, writing, teaching, tutoring, consulting, handyman work, etc.
The gig economy has never been more robust, even as COVID-19 has wiped out jobs by the millions, yet Biden and Harris support laws that will give the government the ability to restrict employment. Americans must unite and fight these policies that will hinder a thriving gig economy and workers’ ability to be creative, flexible, and rewarded for hard work.