Being a part of the Gig Economy can sound sort of exciting. Lots of variety, none of that nine-to-five grind . . . but the decidedly unromantic downside for many of these workers is no insurance, no benefits, and no economic security. Lawmakers are concerned about what seems to be a growing tendency for some employers to call their workers contractors – parts of that Gig Economy – rather than employees. Representative Monica Stonier wants to know more, and is advocating for a statewide study of what the changing jobscape will mean for the overall economy, for a straining safety net, and for individuals and families living from one part-time paycheck to the next.
“If you’re not making a living wage then that’s a problem, right? If you’re working 50, 60 hours a week and you don’t have benefits, that’s a problem in my opinion. The federal government is destabilizing our healthcare market, and so people are struggling to have medical coverage . . . that’s a problem in Washington state.”
Stonier, a Democrat from Vancouver, says getting an accurate picture of the problem is the first step in finding a solution, and she hopes to work funding for the study into the supplemental state budget being written now in Olympia.