The gig economy is all over the news. Recent stories about class actions against Uber and new contracts with Lyft drivers dominate the news cycle. But many of these stories overlook the true impact of the gig economy. The Internet enabled the growth of small businesses and contract work, this trend has been ongoing long before smartphones and apps overtook the phone market.
According to research from former chief economists in the Obama Administration, the alternative work economy currently employs about 15 percent of the entire labor market. Moreover, that the alternative work economy accounted for between 80 and 100 percent of net employment growth since 2005. Alternative work arrangements generally include contract work, on demand work, temporary and other less common forms of work.
Contrast that with examples typified by the “gig economy,” specifically jobs that are “on-demand” like Uber drivers, which only compose about 0.5 percent of the labor market. But the growth of this employment sector is explosive compared to the other industry sectors.
In short, the gig economy is growing and will likely compose a significant portion of the labor market within a few years.
This is important because the gig economy is typified by uncertain work arrangements, uncertain income and uncertain benefits. These jobs, while great for the short term, are difficult and dangerous to build and maintain a stable life.
If you are working in the gig economy, you don’t have nearly as many rights as a traditional employee but you do have some. If you believe that your rights have been violated, then you may want to speak to an attorney. Most of your rights will derive from the contract that you signed with the company, yes you definitely signed a contract. You should also save all emails you receive from your employer, these could also serve as the basis for a contract. An attorney can review these documents to help you understand your position with the company.