Freelancer trend creates new issue

Employment in the United States is trending toward more freelance or temporary jobs, rather than full-time positions. This puts workers in an unfortunate position, as they’re often left without crucial benefits like health insurance, overtime payments or any paid leave.

Business managers are able to hire eager workers to complete a task, but without the added of expense of classifying them as “employees.” Instead, these workers labeled with a title such as “independent contractors.”

Of course, recent college graduates are hit especially hard by this unfortunate trend. In addition, an article last week by the Washington Post showed that tech companies — one of the fastest-growing sectors of our economy — are taking extra advantage of on-demand workers.

Thankfully, there seems to be some fight from both workers and the government in addressing these new issues.

One example is Uber, which is currently facing lawsuits from members of its freelance workforce who say their employment status doesn’t give them sufficient control regarding the terms of their labor.

The Department of Labor also has an employee misclassification initiative that’s active in several states, including Minnesota. The goal, in addition to helping workers, is to gain back lost tax revenue from misclassified workers.

But because trends change much faster than policy, we encourage lawmakers to look closely at current workplace issues and come to a solution that makes a fairer climate for working full time without basic job benefits.