Nine in 10 employees vow to continue 'gig jobs' until retirement

This is despite protection and rights concerns raised within the market

Nine in 10 employees vow to continue 'gig jobs' until retirement

Over the past years, the world has observed the emergence of the gig economy as more workers ventured to the said labour market looking for alternative sources of income away from the traditional means of working.

The gig economy is described as the market where short-term contracts or freelance work prevail over permanent jobs.

A new report from Zety found that there are currently around 59 million gig workers out there, roughly equivalent to 36% of all US employees.

According to the report, 52% of those involved in gigs were doing it out of necessity, while 48% are doing it out of choice. Majority of them (38%) spend 10 to 20 hours doing gig jobs a week, 32% spent 20 to 30 hours, 16% spend 30 to 40 hours, 11% spend 10 hours or less, while three per cent spend 40 hours or more.

And even if majority of workers do work gigs out of necessity, a significant 88% admitted that they are still considering on doing gig work until retirement.

But what makes gig work so attractive for employees? The Zety report found that employees report independence (58%), flexibility (50%), and variety (43%) from the gig economy.

These benefits trump the disadvantages they reported in the market, which include lack of employee benefits (39%), irregular working hours (37%), and unstable income (35%). There are also 88% of respondents who reported mistreatment while completing a job, 81% feeling unsafe, and 70% who experienced sexual advances.

Even then, 54% of the respondents said they still want to do gig work on the side while finding a full-time job, 16% said they want to stick to their gig work, while six per cent said they want to find another job that is still within the gig economy.

Read more: Gig workers want a law to guarantee protections and benefits

Gig workers are usually the subject of recent legal disputes across the world, especially when it comes to their protections and benefits in the workplace.

According to the report, majority of those who participate in the gig economy believe that they should have health insurance. In addition, they also view that:

  • Gig workers should have the same fundamental rights (minimum wage, paid sick leave, etc.) as full-time employees (74%)
  • Policymakers should regulate the gig economy better (73%)
  • Gig workers should have more legal protection (70%)
  • Gig workers should have the right to join a labour union (70%)
  • Gig workers should have the same benefits as full-time employees (69%)

The European Commission recently drafted new rules to provide workers in the gig economy better protections, including defining the "employer" through a set of criteria in the market.

"If the platform meets at least two of those criteria, it is legally presumed to be an employer. The people working through them would therefore enjoy the labour and social rights that come with the status of 'worker,'" said the commission.

Nicolas Schmit, commissioner for jobs and social rights, said the proposed rules help workers become entitled to their protection and rights.

"We must make the most of the job-creating potential of digital platforms. But we should also make sure that they are quality jobs, that don't promote precariousness, so people working through them have security and can plan for their future," said Schmit. "Technological progress must be fair and inclusive, which is why the proposal also addresses transparency and oversight of platforms' algorithms."

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