Due to the spread of a deadly virus, economies world over began to fumble and crash. This led to a massive spike in the unemployment rate, leaving thousands of people unable to secure jobs and a stable income. Many people resorted to unusual ways to earn money, one of which was becoming a part of Gig economy. A Gig economy can be defined as a labor market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work. One of the prevailing examples of this would be platforms like Uber Eats, Lyft, Deliveroo, etc.
The Referendum in California
In California, a referendum was held in order to determine whether these ride-hail and delivery companies should be exempted from California employment law. This meant that if these companies stay exempted from the California Employment law, then the people working for these companies will be considered freelancers or individual contractors. They will not be subjected to the rights and protection provided by employment laws. These companies invested $200 million in a campaign to ensure that the referendum results in their favor. Spoiler alert: it did.
Rights for The People Working for These Companies
This referendum was just a tiny portion of the bigger picture. The main thing is that Gig Economy is here, and it is here to stay. The question is whether gig economies are good or bad, a concern that comes from the people who do not have access to proper rights and job security while working with these companies. Another aspect that this referendum shed light on was the incapability of referendums when it comes to resolving problems or even looking for solutions.
The pandemic has had quite the haste effect on normalizing new trends. What seemed to be freelance work, and was not given any recognition, now has become essential to keeping society afloat. In just a matter of one year, these gig-based companies have made empires of money while people are forced into quitting their careers and looking for jobs like these. Anyone under the impression that the need for these essential workers will decrease once the pandemic dies down is wrong.
The number of gig workers is increasing on a daily basis. It is high time for them to stand up for their rights and accept that the gig economy is the new normal.