Contract Workers Fighting for Workers’ Compensation, Other Rights Amidst Pandemic
Freelancers, rideshare workers, contract workers and others in the gig economy have been fighting for equal rights for a long time. They are not the same as employees, since they work their own schedule and often use their own equipment. They also do not receive benefits such as unemployment insurance, health insurance, retirement pensions, sick leave, vacation pay and workers’ compensation.
While many contractors are happy to have the flexibility to work their own schedules, many wish they were paid more or had certain benefits, especially now in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. These contract workers are often working the front lines delivering food and other household essentials to the elderly, immunocompromised and others who don’t want to leave their homes.
This is what the gig economy has looked like for years, and the number of people who work non-traditional jobs is growing. Roughly one-third of the workforce, or 55 million workers, in America are gig workers. These workers get no paid vacations or days off when they’re sick. If they are injured, any medical bills come from their own pockets. The gig economy is important now more than ever. The future is now. Now is the time for these essential workers to get the benefits they deserve.
The good news is that there have been some temporary changes to aid gig workers. Freelancers and others who are self-employed can now claim unemployment benefits. Traditional employees were the only ones to receive these benefits in the past, but doing so now would leave out millions of workers. Plus, gig workers are becoming more and more visible as they provide necessary services to those who are housebound due to the coronavirus. This is an important change that could spur similar changes in the future and allow gig workers to receive other forms of benefits.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, people are losing their jobs at unprecedented rates. People in all employment sectors are becoming vulnerable. Gig workers are especially vulnerable, as many companies find them easily replaceable. Millions of Americans have no financial safety net in the event of a layoff. This is especially true for gig workers, who work with multiple clients and often live from paycheck to paycheck. Having extra benefit available to them would be extremely helpful during these tough times.
If anything, the crisis has helped boost the worth of contract workers. Personal shoppers are in demand, with Instacart recently announcing that it would hire 300,000 more. Workers are also more able to use their leverage to demand better treatment, such as better pay and masks, hand sanitizers and other protective supplies.
Contact Us for More Information About Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Many contract workers are performing essential duties during this time, and as such, they should be given more benefits and the same rights that employees enjoy. This includes better pay and workers’ compensation benefits.
If you got sick or injured during the course of your work duties, you may be entitled to benefits. Get help from White Plains workers’ compensation lawyer Michael Lawrence Varon. He can help you understand your legal rights. Schedule a free consultation by filling out the online form or calling (914) 228-1770.