Washington State developing gig worker benefit laws

Gig work is increasing due to the mobile apps. As an independent contractor, a worker should be afforded autonomy and flexibility. But American workplace protection laws barely acknowledge that independent contractors exist.


New application-based platforms are deploying armies of workers to perform services ranging from on-demand taxis and home cleaning to meal delivery and child care. Most of these “gig economy” workers are not employees of the company that signs their paychecks. Instead, they are classified as independent contractors—a status that, by law, means a worker is self-employed.In Washington, legislators are fighting to ensure that gig work is good work. Two years ago, the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to give taxi and ride-sharing drivers classified as independent contractors the ability to unionize. This session, the council will introduce legislation requiring gig companies to contribute to a portable benefits fund that would provide contributions to health insurance, paid time off, retirement, and workers’ compensation insurance.


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