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For gig economy workers in these states, rights are at risk

Author: Lydia DePillis, CNN Money, Published on: 14 March 2018

Should gig economy workers... be entitled to the same rights and benefits as regular employees? Currently they aren't...That frees these companies from having to offer benefits, pay a host of taxes and abide by certain labor laws. Leading the charge is New York-based Handy, an online platform that connects users with home service providers ranging from plumbers to house cleaners. The company has put bills in front of eight state legislatures this year that would permanently classify most gig workers as independent contractors... Defining gig workers as independent contractors will give platform companies the certainty that their business model will hold up to legal scrutiny, Handy argues.

Over the years, many platform companies — including Handy — have been sued for allegedly misclassifying workers as independent contractors. The legal outcomes have been mixed, with many cases settling before a verdict was reached, or awaiting a Supreme Court decision on whether the arbitration agreements most workers signed can be enforced... In blue states, gig economy companies have offered to provide benefits to their workers, but there's a catch. Handy pushed a bill in New York that would have allowed platforms to contribute 2.5% of each transaction to a benefits fund in exchange for a guarantee that the workers would remain independent contractors. Unions and worker advocacy groups opposed the measure, saying it gave away too many rights and protections for workers.

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