A spate of recent lawsuits have drawn attention to the distinction between employees and independent contractors. That means it’s time to take a closer look at worker classifications.
As a result of the number of current disputes that have broken out between companies and independent contractors, many workers are realizing that they are the odd ones out.
The lawsuits arise from misclassification, which Françoise Carré defines in the Economic Policy Institute study “(In)dependent Contractor Misclassification” as a worker who appears to be a full-time employee but is categorized as self-employed or an independent contractor.
These workers receive a 1099-MISC form in lieu of a W-2 for tax purposes, and miss out on a wide range of benefits, like workers’ compensation insurance, minimum wage, unemployment insurance, and most importantly, health insurance.
Business without Benefits
Over the summer, a string of lawsuits roiled Silicon Valley, as Uber and Homejoy, two major players in the on-demand economy, were forced to reconsider their employee classifications (and Homejoy ended up completely shutting down as a result), as the New York Times reports.
The turmoil convinced Instacart to switch its employees off of contract work (as recode.net details) while Zirx and Luxe are strongly considering doing the same. However, the ongoing contractor-fueled frenzy is far from contained to the state of California.
To use just one example, as reported by the Washington Post, Ariel Wilson Cetrone worked for the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities over the past two and a half years. On the surface, she appeared to be a regular employee replete with business cards, an email address, a company cell phone, and a listing on the website — all of which matched her 40-hour work week.
When Cetrone asked for maternity leave, though, she discovered she wasn’t eligible because she was a contracted worker. For a contractor, standard benefits like maternity and healthcare are simply not available.
Care for Contractors
As Cetrone and millions others like her navigate the independent contractor’s harsh reality of no employer-offered health insurance, they should take a closer look at SingleCare, which offers a reliable solution for the millions of independent contractors without health coverage.
SingleCare fills the gaps by simplifying the hunt for affordable healthcare — for 30% to 60% below the typical asking price for an uninsured patient, someone can schedule an appointment with a wide range of healthcare providers.
With a cashless, pre-negotiated payment method and a shopping experience that rivals Amazon’s, SingleCare provides an easy-to-use service that promises access to talented medical professionals when you need them. Now, independent contractors have options.
(Main image credit: Sebastien Wiertz/flickr)