The gig economy refers to application-based technology platforms, or apps, that deploy armies of workers to perform services ranging from on-demand taxis and home cleaning and maintenance to meal delivery and child care. Some experts predict that this sector will transform the way Americans work and could offer workers unprecedented levels of freedom. Yet policies designed to keep workers safe and ensure that they receive decent wages may not apply to many workers in the gig economy. As a result, too many gig economy workers are stuck in unstable, low-wage jobs.
Gig economy workers are frequently classified as independent contractors—a status that by law means a worker is self-employed.1Independent contractors may contract with multiple companies; are responsible for paying employer-side state and federal payroll taxes; and should receive significant freedom on how they provide services. Some argue that this freedom and flexibility is an incredibly important benefit for workers balancing multiple jobs and family commitments.The above excerpt was originally published in Center for American Progress.