Should You Offer Benefits To Freelancers?
Cincinnati, OH | Posted: 06/26/2016 | Author: Stuart Koenig
The gig economy is here to stay, for better or worse. Employers are finding the rise of freelancers brings a healthy workforce of experienced options to choose from to fill project needs. This competitive environment means that businesses need an edge to entice the best talent, and one of those incentives is starting to prevail above others in its attractiveness – benefits.
Companies are starting to offer some health coverage, insurance and other benefits to freelance workers in the hopes of landing quality help for their business goals. This makes sense, as there are roughly 42 million freelancers, temps and contractors in the United States today. And with those numbers, contingency workers are looking for every advantage a company can offer. They don’t want to go it alone regarding their healthcare and other benefits, and aren’t entirely satisfied with their options presented by government and others.
There is some help, namely in the form of the Freelancers Union. This site works with freelance artists to acquire benefits, allowing workers to search for local providers that help with health insurance, dental insurance, 401K plans, disability insurance, liability insurance and life insurance benefits. The Freelancers Union has begun collaborating with companies, especially gig-related ventures such as Lyft, to help get freelancers covered.
Other help for freelance benefits is harder to come by in the workforce writ large, making those companies that do offer some type of insurance all the more valuable. "If we want people to feel comfortable moving from job to job in a very flexible, decentralized economy, they need to have some basic protections that allow them to do that," said Jacob Hacker, a political scientist at Yale University and author of "The Great Risk Shift", which talks about the lack of a workforce security.
The bottom line is that benefits are scarce for contract workers, and the Affordable Care Act often charges those that can’t get subsidies a higher premium for coverage than they paid before. The company that wants to best succeed in the gig economy will be the one that can figure out how best to provide some type of coverage to the fastest growing occupation today – the independent worker.