There are many gig worker benefits as well as advantages of gig economy work over traditional employment. The rapidly expanding gig economy has low barriers to entry and allows contingent workers, also known as gig workers, flexibility to access work whenever and in many cases wherever they desire.
Benefits for gig economy workers include flexibility, low barriers to entry including faster onboarding and platforms designed to efficiently link supply and demand, greater independence, and the ability to work for a number of different companies and even sectors depending on the worker’s skills.
Gig Economy Flexibility
Flexibility is one of the key benefits of the gig economy for both workers and businesses. Freelance workers benefit from being able to choose gigs that match their skills, interests, and time available while companies benefit from a more agile on-demand workforce that is better able to meet their needs. Companies are better able to afford highly skilled workers if they only have to pay them on a project-by-project basis.
Depending on the type of gig, workers are usually either able to choose when they are available to work, such as with delivery drivers or restaurant staff, or choose when they complete a project within a given timescale. Depending on the sector a lot of gig work can also be done from anywhere with a good internet connection allowing more people to work from home, or a beach if they so wish. Companies save the cost of office space and workers save the costs associated with commuting to and from work.
Other Advantages of the Gig Economy
As well as flexibility there are a number of other advantages to workers and companies of the gig economy. Being able to quickly find staff for short-term gigs is key to helping businesses. Better information technology such as apps that quickly link gigs with those looking for work have made a big difference to the growth and success of the gig economy, they also remove or reduce many barriers to entry by speeding up onboarding, providing background checks that can be shared between multiple employers, and giving unlimited access to jobs as they arise.
Another benefit for workers on top of gig economy flexibility is the variety of work that is available. Unlike traditional employment, there is no need to stick to one role or even one sector. This means if you are good at writing and graphic design you can do both, plus you could do some driving in the evenings to boost your income further and get yourself away from a computer screen.
Employment Benefits for Gig Economy Workers
In the traditional job market employment benefits have been seen as key to attracting and keeping good full-time employees and employers are beginning to recognize the importance of offering benefits for gig workers to encourage the best performance, brand loyalty, and engagement from independent workers. As such platforms such as Shiftpixy are starting to offer employment benefits to workers in the gig economy giving more economic security alongside gig economy flexibility.
Historically employment laws have not covered gig economy workers as they are classed as independent contractors and not employees. This means that although there are advantages of the gig economy work giggers are not protected in the same way as employees, even part-time employees by labor laws. Companies benefit from this by not having to offer health insurance benefits, minimum wage or paid leave or paying towards social security, unemployment insurance, or workers’ taxes.
In 2020 the federal cares act extended the pandemic unemployment assistance to include gig economy unemployment assistance giving more workers access to this much-needed safety net of government support. Labor advocates support the need to have unemployment insurance available to gig workers. But there are concerns as because of the way gig workers are classified companies do not have to pay towards these benefits meaning full and part-time employees are essentially subsidizing these benefits.
Although it is possible that laws will change to reflect the needs of the large numbers of individuals working in the gig economy at the moment gig economy workers need to be mindful of the fact that they are not entitled to the same benefits and protection as traditional employees and plan accordingly. This means making sure you are being paid enough to cover not just day-to-day living expenses but insurance and plans as well as taxes, and creating your own safety net.