When people are employed as part-time workers or independent contractors, they are less likely to have access to traditional benefits and more likely to face financial and personal stress. American workers have traditionally relied upon their employers to provide the social guarantees that allow individuals and families to prosper, including health insurance, workers compensation, retirement plans, paid sick leave, life insurance, etc. However, as employers embrace the “gig economy” and move to hiring independent contractors and other non-traditional workers, benefits are no longer required or provided. Due to the instability that is inherent to so much of their work, non-traditional workers have a serious need for workplace benefits.
To establish a fund that allows policy experimentation to see what works in order to ensure the dignity and security for workers and their families in a rapidly changing economy. The purpose of my bill, An Act establishing portable benefits for independent workers innovation fund, does just that. It establishes a statewide program that will encourage employers and organizations to find innovative ways to provide this growing independent workforce with access to many of the social insurance protections that are typically provided to workers through traditional full-time employment.