Real Solutions For On-Demand Worker Classification

Real Solutions For On-Demand Worker Classification

Real Solutions For On-Demand Worker Classification: This past year will be remembered as the year of the on-demand economy. For many people, especially those outside of Silicon Valley, it seemed to come out of nowhere. On the consumer side, this was almost universally a welcome surprise. The impact on workers was, of course, much more hotly debated. Headline-grabbing events, such as the class-action lawsuit over Uber’s supposed “ worker misclassification,” were portrayed as nothing less than the on-demand economy on trial. Decisions by other companies to reclassify their independent contractors as employees were interpreted as an attempt to pre-empt an inevitable crack-down from regulators. There was drama at the local level, with Florida declaring that an Uber driver was — and then wasn’t — an employee, and Seattle passing legislation that effectively paves the way for ride-sharing drivers to unionize. I believe that in 2016 we’ll come to realize these headlines largely missed the point. Instead of worker classification, we’ll instead focus on building new solutions that support the future of work and a new generation of entrepreneurs. Here’s why: The on-demand economy didn’t make traditional employment go away, and it isn’t creating a new kind of work that demands new regulatory action. Far from being a phenomenon that came out of nowhere in 2015, the reasons people are choosing on-demand work can be traced back 30 years, or more. The benefits of traditional employment have been steadily eroding since the 1980s. Take, for example, the fact that: In 1982, almost 60 percent of full-time workers at U.S. private sector firms were enrolled in defined-benefit pension plans. Today it’s about 14 percent. The average duration of unemployment was about 8.5 weeks in 1980. In June 2015, it was 28.1 weeks. Today, 37 percent of American households are home to adults working two or more jobs. […]