Navigating the Gig Economy, Independent or Employer?

Workers’ compensation applies to workers.

It does not apply to independent contractors. Sometimes people don’t understand what they give up when they go to work in a job where they are classified as an independent contractor.

In Oregon, it usually is pretty complicated to be declared an independent contractor. Some people are independent contractors by statute (ORS 656.027). The statute starts out as a definition of who are subject workers but ends up listing two pages of exclusions, most of which are political, to benefit a particular industry.

An example is “a person serving as a referee or assistant referee in a youth or adult recreational soccer match whose services are retained on a match by match basis.” What that means is that a person who serves as an umpire for recreational softball or baseball is, at least not by statute, an independent contractor.

Another group of people who are excluded are people who operate and who have an ownership or lease hold interest in a motor vehicle that is operated as a taxi cab.

Independent contractors are defined in ORS 670.600, and it means someone who provides services for remuneration but are free from direction and control over the means and manner of providing the services, subject only to the right of the person for whom the services are provided to specify desired results.

There are many other requirements, such as maintaining a business location that is separate from the work they do for the people that hire them. The person must bear the risk of loss related to the business or provision of services. The person is required to correct effective work, and so on.

The reason that we make it difficult in most instances to find people to be independent contractors, is that workers’ compensation as a benefit protects workers as well as protecting employers.

I’ve attached a link to a newspaper story in Philadelphia about a person making deliveries who was killed when struck by a motorist.

More and more people are choosing to work in the “gig” economy. Most get a significant amount of freedom, but at a potentially significant cost, such as no health benefits and no workers compensation coverage.

It is something people need to be aware of when they go to work in this type of employment and try to make informed choices when doing so.

Philadelphia Inquirer: What about gig workers’ rights?

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2018-09-27T08:58:43+00:00