According to Matt Davies Stockton, no employee should feel like they are at the mercy of their employer. Unfortunately, self-employed gig workers who are paid per job and have to accept projects through a platform don’t enjoy the benefits and job security associated with traditional employment.
For instance, the major food delivery online marketplace, Just Eat Takeaway has recently announced that it cannot sustain the salaried delivery model any longer and as a result, threatens almost 350 of its employed couriers. Going back on their word, Just Eat Takeaway announced they will continue to hire self-employed gig workers which don’t receive any employment benefits such as sick pay or pension. Now, let’s look at a few rights that gig workers don’t have access to:
- Minimum wage – In almost every developed nation, employers need to follow the Minimum Wage act where they legally need to pay their employees a minimum hourly salary. This cannot be reduced by an individual contract or collective agreement. The right to minimum wage ensures that employees are paid a fair remuneration or salary for the work performed during a given time period.
However, self-employed gig workers are not considered permanent employees and thus, don’t experience the benefit of a minimum wage. As a result, their hourly wage can be set lower if both parties agree.
- Health coverage – Health insurance is one of the basic rights of every full-time employee which is usually covered in part or full by the employer. Generally, the definition of a full-time employee will depend on the number of hours they have worked, and this number can vary in different countries.
However, since self-employed gig workers are not considered employees, they don’t get to qualify for partial or full health coverage by their employers, even when they work over 30-40 hours a week.
- Workplace safety – Workplace safety laws are put in place to reduce or prevent the risk of accidents and injury from occurring, especially for employees that work in certain sectors that can pose health and safety risks such as agriculture, construction, maritime, and more.
Employees take workplace safety pretty seriously since they are liable for workplace safety and would be held responsible if any of their employees sustain a healthy injury in the workplace due to poor workplace safety. However, this law doesn’t affect self-employed gig workers.
- Social security – Social security is a financial security net designed to support the lives of retirees or families with retired workers and citizens with disabilities or families with disabled workers.
The benefits are funded by payroll tax in which employers and employees each have to contribute an equal amount worth 6.2% of the staff member’s earnings, up to a maximum annual amount. However, self-employed gig workers have to bear the whole 12.4%, although half the amount is tax-deductible.
Matt Davies Stockton suggests you understand the benefits of drawbacks of being a self-employed professional or a gig worker before you leave your traditional employment. Although working from home as a gig worker allows you the freedom to accept the projects you want and work on your own time, you have to pay more taxes and you don’t receive any traditional employment benefits such as health coverage and paid family leave.