A defining employment trend of the past several years is the increase in the types and prevalence of non-traditional work, much of which has become known as the “gig economy” but incorporates a wide variety of work arrangements. The term “independent worker” has been coined by economists to include those whose work is mediated by technology platforms as well as those who engage with a business through a freelance, contract or contingent arrangement. This evolving labor relationship is central to what we see as the New Economy.
While most, if not all, Council member companies still rely primarily on a traditional workforce, many also engage independent workers to fulfill certain roles or projects for varying amounts of time, or are considering doing so. The design and regulation of employer sponsored benefits are currently based on traditional definitions of an employer and employee, but future legislation and regulation will influence – and be influenced by –how work arrangements evolve.
The American Benefits Council is engaged with policymakers to ensure that health and retirement benefits for traditional employees are protected, while also helping companies leverage benefits and modern work arrangements to advance their business objectives.
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> Portable Benefits for Independent Workers Pilot Program Act (S. 1251)
> Portable Benefits for Independent Workers Pilot Program Act (H.R. 2685)
S. 1251 (sponsored by Senator Mark Warner (D-VA)) and H.R. 2685 (sponsored by Representative Suzan DelBene (D-WA)) authorizes $20 million for competitive grants to states, local governments and nonprofits for pilot projects advancing portable benefits for independent workers.
> Acosta advocates new health plans, updated regs for gig workers (HR Dive)
"U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Alexander Acosta stated support for association health plans and an updated regulatory code to help non-traditional workers and small businesses during an event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Commerce Technology Engagement Center (C_TEC)" [Access the video here.]
The Rise and Nature of Alternative Work Arrangements in the United States, 1995-2015 (Katz/Krueger)
In this landmark study, Katz and Krueger conduct a version of the Contingent Worker Survey (CWS) to track alternative and nonstandard work arrangements using the RAND American Life Panel.
> Freelancers Union
Represents 57 million independent workers across the country and offers policy advocacy, benefits and community to independent workers