Flexible Benefits For Gig Workers May Come In Handy

With well-paying, steady jobs being increasingly difficult to find in this economy, many people have supplemented their income or even replaced it entirely with a variety of gigs. From house cleaning to pet sitting to home care, an estimated 53 million Americans now work for themselves or for companies who offer freelancing opportunities for those seeking gigs. While this is great opportunity for those seeking income it does not offer any long-term benefits for these workers.

A coalition calling for portable benefits and a Good Work Code is seeking to change this and make traditional employment benefits available for freelancers and gig workers. “Everyone, regardless of employment classification, should have access to the option of an affordable safety net that supports them when they’re injured, sick, in need of professional growth, or when it’s time to retire,” wrote the 40 people from CEOs and founders of companies like Handy and Etsy in advocating for these benefits.

Handy.com is just one of the businesses that signed this ground-breaking letter attempting to modernize traditional benefits. CEO Oisin Hanrahan says, “We’d love to see a form of safe harbor to allow platforms like ours to offer benefits, education and training.” Handy.com networks between those needing a handyman or even furniture assembly and the people who wish to provide these services. While they do not employ these people in a traditional sense, the company would like to be able to offer benefits for these contractors that are the backbone of their business.

Founded in 2012 as Handybook, Handy.com sought to offer a practical solution to finding trusted handyman and cleaning specialists. Hanrahan stumbled upon this need as he was seeking to renovate a series of apartments in New York City and experienced extreme difficulty finding reputable and reliable handymen. Since the startup, the business is now in 28 cities nationwide, booked over one million jobs, and recently earned $50 million in funding.

Assemblymen David Chiu stated, “Flexible work should not come at the expense of economic security.” These businesses are providing much needed work in this economy, as they becomes mainstream it is common sense that flexible benefits be offered to protect workers economic security.

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