Gig Economy Could Mean More Employees in Illinois, Fewer Contractors

America is in the middle of a gig economy. More and more people are not finding gainful, full-time, and semi-permanent employment with a single company. Instead, they are picking up jobs here and there as they can, fulfilling gigs as needed. A popular example of a “gig economy job” is working as a driver for ridesharing companies like Lyft and Uber.

While being able to make money as a gig economy worker is better than having no access to income at all, being classified as an independent contractor has always been less than ideal. Independent contractors do not have access to key employment benefits like workers’ compensation coverage and minimum wages.

To try to bring more workers into the employment classification, certain lawmakers in Illinois are pushing for legislative changes. California recently attempted to overhaul the ways it defined an employee compared to an independent contractor for the same purpose. Will Illinois follow in its footsteps, and would that be a benefit?

Pros & Cons of Gig Economy Employee Classification

The obvious benefit of becoming an employee and not a contractor would be the addition of the benefits only given to employees. Workers’ compensation is crucial for injured employees to be able to rest and recuperate after a job-related accident without incurring thousands in medical bills. With medical bill debt being one of the leading causes of debt in the country, giving more people workers’ compensation coverage could theoretically alleviate this issue in the long run.

Many gig economy jobs require the worker to drive across town making deliveries or taxing customers. Being on the road for so many hours a day increases their chances of getting into a car accident. To this end, workers’ compensation is practically a necessity for gig economy workers.

One potential downside to switching more workers from contractors to employees is a loss of job flexibility. Companies would likely need to create part-time positions at a minimum for any workers using its app. For example, if someone wanted to make some extra money as a driver for Uber, then they might need to work at least a four-hour shift each time they log into the app. Many people have embraced the gig economy because it lets them choose their hours, even it means an hour or so of work each day to make a few extra dollars.

To learn more about the gig economy law discussion in Illinois, you can click here to view a full article from The Center Square Illinois. If you need help with a workers’ compensation claim in Illinois, please call (312) 487-2513 and speak with an attorney from Leonard Law Group in Chicago.

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