Bill would help contract workers take benefits to new jobs

The culture of work is changing. “Gig economy” work is on the rise. Think Uber, Uber Eats, Lyft, and Taskrabbit.

Individuals working on a contracted basis, can be great for the flexibility but what about the benefits contacted jobs do not provide? People can no longer rely on health care or retirement benefits from an employer as the nature of employment has changed. More companies are using people as contractors because it costs less than having a full time employee with benefits.

Legislation was introduced in 2017 in Washington House Bill 2109 that would create “portable benefits” for people who work in the gig economy. It was referred to committee and reintroduced in the 2018 legislative session. Contracted workers would have benefit accounts that would follow them to each “gig” service they provide. How this will be paid for is a matter of debate. I propose a three-part solution: the worker, the organization and the customer all pay an equal percentage into the benefit account.

The lack of benefits for workers becomes a problem for us all. When people don’t have health care or adequate finances to retire then individuals are forced to rely on government help, which means we all foot the bill. Doesn’t it make sense to have portable benefits in place now to accommodate the growing gig economy? it will cost government and taxpayers less in the future.

Megan Johnson


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