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Instant Insights / Gig Economy Reshapes the Law

As more companies turn to on-demand workers to save money and provide flexibility, changes in labor, privacy and tort law are at the fore. In this Instant Insights, we explore the evolving legalities and how they’re impacting the practice of law.

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The gig economy is often touted as a natural evolution of the employer-employee relationship, with companies enjoying access to a larger and cheaper pool of talent and workers enjoying flexible hours and a better work/life balance. But as the gig economy continues to redefine the nature of work, many workers are finding themselves shortchanged and are now fighting back.

The criticisms of the gig economy vary widely, but center around two themes: a lack of benefits and unfair pay. Most current gig economy jobs lack paid leave or health care, so a personal injury or illness can become a potentially costly setback. Many gig economy workers also lack access to a corporate retirement plan, or even equivalent self-funded plans, which could become a larger problem as they approach retirement age. Furthermore, gig economy work is often pursued as a de facto full-time job by workers in areas with a dearth of well-paying career options, which gives employers leverage to suppress wages.

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