Project, “is the latest iteration of a 50-year-old pattern of workplace fissuring – the rise of ‘non-stan- dard’ or ‘contingent’ work that is subcontracted, franchised, tempo- rary, on-demand, or freelance. Gig companies are simply using newfan- gled methods of labor mediation to extract rents from workers, and shift risks and costs onto workers, con- sumers, and the general public.” “By 2023,” says MBO Partners, “over half (52 percent) of the private workforce is forecast to have spent time as independent workers at some point in their work lives.” We have long had independent contractors such as accountants and lawyers who are sole practitioners. What’s new and different is that the concept is spreading to fields where workers have traditionally been cor- porate employees. The growing gig economy disrupts the old definition of employment. The problem is that, at this point, we can’t be sure that gig employment means steady and reliable future income. Case in point: a 2018 study by the JPMorgan Chase Institute found that between 2013 and 2017, earnings for freelance drivers fell 53 percent. One can argue that much contin- gent freelance income — and thus the ability of such workers to borrow and repay — will face big challenges in future years. Here’s why: First, there are few barriers to entry. Lots of people can become dog walkers or freelance drivers. You don’t need a license or a degree for many gig positions. The result is that increasing supply pushes down wages. Freelance drivers, according to the JPMorgan Chase Institute, saw monthly incomes fall from $1,469 to $763 between 2013 and 2017. Second, in the longer term, new jobs will be added as a result of marketplace change while others will largely disappear. While the secretari- al pool was killed off with the intro-

to see a two-year history of employ- ment at the same job or in the same field. But, how can this standard apply in an era when more and more of us are becoming gig workers? “Broadly defined,” said Gallup in a 2018 study, “the gig economy includes multiple types of alternative work arrangements such as inde- pendent contractors, online platform workers, contract firm workers, on- call workers and temporary workers. Using this broad definition, Gallup estimates that 29 percent of all workers in the U.S. have an alter- native work arrangement as their primary job. This includes a quarter of all full-time workers (24 percent) and half of all part-time workers (49 percent). Including multiple job holders, 36 percent have a gig work arrangement in some capacity.” The common understanding of employment — 40 hours a week plus benefits — is giving way to the gig economy. We are increasingly a nation of freelancers, where more and more of us work independently,

share jobs, or have multiple occu- pations. Corporations, in turn, love the new economy. With gig workers, businesses do not have to underwrite payroll taxes, or offer health insur- ance, paid vacations, or retirement plans to non-employees. Gig work allows companies to tai- lor work schedules to avoid idle time. This also means many part-time workers are “on call” even if they are not actually working. Without a defined schedule, it’s difficult if not impossible to have a second job even though the hours are available. Gallup says we now have two gig economies and that “indepen- dent gig workers (freelancers and online platform workers) often enjoy the advantages of non-traditional arrangements, while contingent gig workers (on-call, contract, and temp workers) are treated more like employees without the benefits, pay, and stability that come with tradi- tional employment.” “Tech-mediated gig work,” accord- ing to the National Law Employment

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