WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D., Mike Braun (R-IN), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Tim Scott (R-SC), and U.S. Rep. Caroline Miller (R-WV) introduce Thursday the Helping Gig Economy Workers Act, which will allow businesses to provide contractors with employee assistance without being penalized by mis-categorizing them as full-time employees.
“Gig workers play a key role in our economy. Just like other workers, they should have access to COVID-19 relief, too, without sacrificing legal status as independent contractors. This bill removes ambiguity in the law and ensures gig workers can continue to operate without penalties,” said Dr. Cassidy.
Cassidy also led a letter with other senators to Senate leadership earlier this week to highlight the problem gig workers face.
“As Main Street Entrepreneur who has created hundreds of permanent jobs and hired temporary contract workers, I know this legislation will let businesses like Uber, Lyft, and others provide COVID-19 assistance through bonuses, cleaning materials, hand sanitizer, and other goods without being penalized for their goodwill,” said Braun. “Bottom line: this commonsense bill will provide a safe harbor for businesses who want to help the temporary and service workers helping us during COVID-19.”
“Gig workers like Uber drivers and Postmates couriers play an increasingly important role in our economy,” said Loeffler. “We must reduce the barriers preventing these hardworking Americans from receiving protective equipment and other resources that will keep them safe as they perform this valuable work. The Helping Gig Economy Workers Act will make a tremendous difference in ensuring companies and workers stay safe and open for business in the digital marketplace during this crisis.”
“In the wake of COVID-19, our recovery will be powered, in part, by independent contractors and the gig economy,” Scott said. “The Helping Gig Economy Workers Act will ensure that businesses can offer the proper support to people working every day to deliver food, offer transportation to those who might not otherwise have access to it, and provide a variety of other goods and services. From Uber and Lyft drivers, throughout the entire gig economy, many workers prefer their independent contractor status, and keeping that intact is absolutely critical.”
“During this unprecedented public health emergency, it is crucial we work to keep Americans safely working and receiving paychecks,” said Miller. “This bill will ensure platform companies supporting independent contractors during this pandemic have the freedom to offer incentives like paid leave, bonuses, and preventative care, without the threat of lawsuits. These workers are keeping our economy running, and they need the support these companies can offer them to continue their work.
The Helping Gig Economy Workers Act permits digital market place companies to provide, through the duration of the COVID-19 crisis, payments, health benefits, trainings, and PPE to users of their digital marketplace without it being used as evidence in any federal, state, or local law, ordinance, or regulation for the purposes of determining whether a user is considered an employee or independent contractor or the company is considered a joint employer.
The Helping Gig Economy Workers Act defines a digital market place company as a business entity affecting commerce that maintains an online-enabled application or platform to facilitate the exchange of goods or services by users of the online-enabled application or platform; licenses access to an online-enabled application or platform to facilitate the exchange of goods or services; and does not require a licensee using the online-enabled application or platform to generate business to accept any specific job request as a condition of maintaining access to the entity’s online-enabled application or platform.
The Helping Gig Economy Workers Act defines an individual accessing work through a digital marketplace company as someone who is provided with the option to accept or reject job requests through an online-enabled application or platform maintained by a digital marketplace company and provides services to digital platform consumers upon connection through a digital network maintained by the digital marketplace company in exchange for compensation or payment of a fee.