The big story about the United States’ workforce this year was the rise of remote working. Tens of millions of American employees defied skeptics and showed the world that, yes, they could be productive and be at home.
Underneath the surface, there’s an even more important employment story that emerged this year: the rise of the independent contractor. This includes a whole new group of mostly white-collar employees who went from full-time salaried positions to being fully employed independent contractors.
Unlike many independent contractors in the pre-pandemic Gig Economy, white-collar contract workers are typically college-educated and working office jobs that have previously not been seen as flexible. They’re now working from home because of Covid-19 safety concerns and because they have the kinds of jobs that are possible to do from home.
Unfortunately, this watershed event in the world of work is being viewed through the same old policy bifocals. Pundits already are claiming that workers must choose between the security of full-time employment or the freedom of contract work. But as the pandemic has just demonstrated, nothing is carved in stone when it comes to employment. We owe it to ourselves — employers and employees — to seize this opportunity to advocate for new legislation that reflects the rapidly evolving employment market.
In response to California’s controversial AB-5 legislation, Bert penned his first piece for the Forbes Coaches’ Council on why the current independent contractor model is broken — and how to fix it. Find his full perspective and recommended next steps on Forbes.
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