Equality And Fairness In The Gig Economy

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With time business models have been changing all over the world. Because of the increase in the cost of living, many people take up gigs on the side alongside their regular job. This is because they have to make ends meet and cover their expenses.

However, some people work as independent contractors and it is their only main source of income. Problems arise when gig economy employers take advantage of the workers by offering low wages, discrimination, and unfair policies.

The question that arises - does the gig economy promote equality and fairness? There are many struggles that workers in the gig economy face and here are some of them:

Employment status is not clear

Gig workers are considered to be independent contractors. Because of this, they are stripped off of benefits that normal employees get such as social security, worker's compensation, etc.

Apart from this, even though they are independent contractors, their pay rate is determined by the company that hires them.

There is no safety net in this kind of work and people who use the gig economy as their main source of income are discriminated against and not given the same pay or benefits that a normal employee gets from their employer. They also have to work harder just to reach minimum wage. Such practices can be unfair and exploitative.

No legal protection

Companies exploit workers because they state them as “independent contractors” and not employees. While employee rights are protected under the labour laws of most countries. Independent contractors have no legal protection.

Even though they are technically employed by another company, the term independent contractor shifts liability on the worker and not the company. Companies take advantage of this and may exploit their workers.

Issues of payment

At times, workers in the gig economy either receive pay later or sometimes not at all. They are cheated out of their work and some employers don’t respond after getting their work done.

Technically since they aren’t “employed” by the company, they can’t even take a legal stand against the company that has hired them.

How to tackle these unfair practices

There is little to no equality and fairness in the gig economy. The workers might have more liberty – being able to choose their working hours, but they also face a greater risk.

The only solution to this problem is introducing a law that protects the rights of these independent contractors. Some companies may take advantage of workers because they know that legally they are protected.

Recently, there has been an increase in worker protests and a ban against such companies. This is done so they can employ fairer practices and provide workers with the compensation that they deserve.

However, there will be no drastic change in this kind of practice unless there is a response by the legislature. What gig economy workers need is a law that protects their rights, against potential exploitative techniques.

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2 comments

  • @Alice Lelean, definitely more can be done than just blogging and getting likes! Through Ordrs, we are trying to lead by example! Will look into setting up a petition :)

    Davidson
  • Very well written. The thing is, what is the point in me sharing this on Facebook? It will just get me a few “likes”, and a few comments agreeing with you, maybe one or two will have an opposing opinion.
    That’s it.
    You need to use this to effect – start a petition asking parliament to change the law on workers rights?
    - use what you’ve written as a template letter for others to copy, sign, and send to their MP?
    But just posting it on twitter or Facebook or whatever will change nothing.
    🙂

    Alice Lelean

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