The Gig Economy Leaves Many Workers Unprotected

The Gig Economy Leaves Many Workers Unprotected

The chances are good that the gig economy has impacted you in one form or another, whether you are a consumer or a worker. Rideshare apps, remote work, contract labor and on-demand services are changing our economy in ways that are still surprising labor experts, economists, consumers and workers alike.

One of the more unforeseen consequences of the gig economy is the impact it has on workers. The days of a worker’s being classified as an employee are giving way to contract labor. With that change comes a dramatic shift in the way workers are being treated, including the benefits they once enjoyed.

There are several benefits to working in the gig economy. You often get to choose your own hours and determine how much you will work. But you also must deal with the downsides of contract labor. Gig workers don’t have many guarantees in their jobs. They aren’t given retirement contributions or health insurance, and they often pay their own taxes.

For many workers, this is an acceptable trade-off. For others, it’s a sacrifice done out of necessity. Professional drivers, for example, might prefer to drive for a cab company because they know there are certain standards that govern their rights. But with the shift to a gig economy, rideshare services have surged in popularity, and drivers are being forced to use Uber or Lyft to make ends meet. That means they enjoy fewer guarantees than they would behind the wheel of a cab.

A Shifting Paradigm for Workers

Certain demographics are also being forced to rethink what kind of benefits they receive and how that might impact their lives. This is especially true for workers over the age of 45, who make up more than half of all workers in the gig economy. These workers are finding that the safety net that used to be a hallmark of employment in the United States is no longer there.

Worker benefits are largely absent for independent contractors, which is the label carried by most in the on-demand labor market. This means that benefits like workers’ compensation aren’t available for this growing subset of American workers. With the absence of health insurance and injury benefits, a worker might find that they are on their own in the event of an on-the-job injury.

Workers Should Know They Often Have Options After Injury

If an independent contractor is injured while working, they might be tempted to think that they are entirely without options, but that’s not necessarily the case. If an injury is suffered because of someone else’s negligence, that worker can file a personal injury claim to receive compensation for the costs associated with their injury. Other workers might be able to prove that they would be better classified as employees as opposed to independent contractors, thereby making themselves eligible for workers’ compensation.

Every situation is different, and determining whether a worker is eligible for compensation depends on many different factors. Has the worker signed an agreement that prohibits them from pursuing litigation? Was there a negligent party responsible for an injury?

A workplace injury attorney will be able to meet with clients and determine the likelihood of compensation for an injured worker. If you have been injured on the job and believe you deserve payment, you shouldn’t rule out filing a claim just because you are classified as an independent contractor.

If you’d like to learn more about filing an injury claim, contact the New York workplace injury attorneys at Kaplan Lawyers PC. We offer free consultations to help you better understand your legal options. The consultation is free, and you pay no fee unless we win your case. You can reach out to Kaplan Lawyers PC by filling out our online form or calling us at any of our office locations:

(212) 563-1900 (NYC)
(516) 399-2364 (Nassau County)
(347) 758-9011 (Brooklyn)
(631) 619-5309 (Suffolk County)
(917) 382-9212 (Queens)