Over the past few years, more and more Americans are looking to gig work, either as supplemental income or full-time employment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently over 21 million gig workers in the country today. However, depending on how you define a “gig worker,” there are likely more than that.
That is because it is difficult to determine between an employee and a gig worker, as each state has their own definition. Employees of a company are granted rights such as healthcare and workers’ compensation benefits. Presently, gig workers do not have those protections. But as the gig economy rises in popularity, it is becoming more and more apparent that changes need to be made, and that insurance companies must adapt to cover them.
Examples of gig employees are in the non-traditional workforce and are mostly related to apps, but may also include:
- Delivery drivers
- Graphic designers
- Instacart shoppers
- IT workers
- Office workers
- Ridesharing app drivers
- Retail workers
Employee vs Independent Contractor
The difficulty with insuring gig workers and providing them benefits of an employee is to determine whether they are an employee in the traditional sense. How would one define an employee? Consider these questions:
- Does the worker have a set schedule, or do they make their own schedule?
- Does the worker need equipment provided to them or do they use their own?
- Does the worker complete the job their own way, or are they instructed to?
The distinction between gig worker and employee makes insurance policies a bit complex. The rights of each vary from state to state but are generally similar.
In California, a new labor law was issued which get gig workers wage and benefit rights. Under the law, drivers for companies such as Uber or Lyft were reclassified as employees and were then covered under workers’ compensation benefits. However, this would mean insurance companies would have to change their products, and the model for the workplace will change as a whole.
Other states New York and New Jersey are following suit. However, the pandemic pushed tabled further discussion on those bills. Other states, like Utah or West Virginia, are considering laws that would classify gig workers closer to independent contractors than employees.
Another issue is that most gig workers also have full-time jobs, over 51 percent. How does an insurance company handle a workers’ compensation claim if a worker suffers an injury during their full-time job but worsens their gig job, or vice versa?
How Do I Get Coverage as a Gig Worker?
With the increasing popularity of gig work and reliance on apps and the internet, many insurance companies are looking to help provide coverage for gig workers and adapt their programs, but nothing substantial at this time. If you are a gig worker and are injured on the job, here are a few ways you can protect yourself:
- Know the law: Check with your state on how they handle workers’ compensation, and how it may apply to gig work or to independent contractors.
- Insure yourself: There are policies available you could purchase from several insurance companies. Some companies offer policies that provide workers’ compensation coverage, medical bill coverage, and so forth.
- Contact a lawyer: A reputable workplace accident lawyer can go over your injury case and may provide options for you to take as you heal from your injury.
The Downingtown Workplace Accident Lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC Help Gig Workers Injured on the Job
Being injured on the job is the last thing you need. The time lost at work means lost money, no matter what job you perform. If you are a gig worker and have been injured, then seek the help of the Downingtown workplace accident lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC right away. Our knowledgeable team has years of experience with cases like this and will gladly help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 610-594-1600 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. With our office located in Exton, Pennsylvania, we proudly serve all communities of Downingtown, West Chester, Exton, Coatesville, Phoenixville, Malvern, Lyndell, Wagontown, Uwchland, Parkesburg, Chester Springs, Lancaster County, Reading, and Morgantown.