Workers in the ‘gig economy’ could see more protections

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC)- State lawmakers are considering given more protections to people who work in the gig economy.

The gig economy is made up of workers in short-term contracts or freelance work, such as gig jobs or uber driving.

Unlike traditional employees, gig workers aren’t protected under labor laws. At a public hearing with the state labor committee, organizations on both sides explained how further protections could benefit or hamper the business world in New York.

Conor Charron is a member of the growing gig economy. He works as a freelance graphic designer and a Uber driver.

For him, laws protecting gig workers like himself would level the playing field between gig works and other employees.

“If you get injured and you can’t work like I said most other industries are going to help you out with that so I don’t see why not at this point,” said Charron.

This new gig economy is forcing lawmakers to look at whether current labors laws fully protect these workers.

“To achieve our mission of creating economic growth, good jobs, and strong communities, it is vital the state have a business climate that supports innovation while ensuring important basic worker protections. It may sound cliché, but workers are out members most important resource a fact even more obvious in the modern gig or sharing economy,” said Frank Kerbein, director of the business council of New York state.

Some of these protections include; civil rights, benefit pools, woker’s compenstation, and pretirment benefits.

Similar laws have been passed in state like California and a bill to change labor laws in New York state is being considered by the state committee on labor.

But that California bill is already facing lawsuits and opponents think that New York could face similar problems.

“I.A. urges the legislature to consider the impact of legislate to require more workers to be classified as employees and how this remove the flexibility to work across multiple platforms, set their own hours, and decide when and if they want to perform a certain task,” said John Olsen, director, internet association.

The bill is currently stuck in committee. It could be open for discussion when lawmakers return in January.

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