Report

Gig Workers in US – Poor working conditions, low pay survey finds

Digital platform companies have constructed a business model on the premise that they do not employ their workforce. These companies treat workers who perform the services they offer not as employees but as independent contractors. By classifying their workforce in this way, they deprive workers of fundamental rights under federal and state labor and employment laws, including wage and hour protections, anti-discrimination protection, workers’ compensation, unemployment benefits, and the right to organize and collectively bargain.Digital platform companies claim that their workforce benefits from this classification, enjoying the benefits of entrepreneurship with good pay and more flexibility than workers classified as traditional W-2 employees.* However, a survey of gig workers reveals that these workers often are paid low wages, in some instances less than the minimum wage; they face economic insecurity at high rates; and they routinely report losing earnings because of technical difficulties with digital platforms.

Key findings

A survey of gig workers in the spring of 2020 revealed that their jobs provided poor working conditions, even relative to other service-sector workers, who themselves typically receive low pay.

  • About 1 in 7 gig workers (14%) earned less than the federal minimum wage on an hourly basis. More than a quarter (29%) earned less than the state minimum wage that would be applicable if they were a W-2 service-sector worker.
  • Three out of every 5 gig workers (62%) lost earnings because of “technical difficulties clocking in or out,” compared with 19% of W-2 service-sector workers.
  • One in 5 gig workers (19%) went hungry because they could not afford enough to eat. Thirty percent used the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) within a month of the survey, twice the rate of W-2 service-sector workers (15%).
  • Nearly one-third (31%) of gig workers did not pay the full amount of their utility bills in the month prior to the survey.

 

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @ National survey of gig workers paints a picture of poor working conditions, low pay | Economic Policy Institute

* JMM’s note : A W-2 is a tax form where businesses report annual compensation paid to their employees and the payroll taxes withheld from that compensation.

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