The gig economy has been a game-changer for many workers, offering greater flexibility and control over their schedules. However, gig workers have long been on their own when it comes to essential benefits, like health coverage, that are traditionally offered by employers. This has left many gig workers vulnerable to financial risks, which makes the gig economy an unsustainable career choice.
Thankfully, a new law, SB 233, passed by the Utah Legislature could be pivotal for gig workers. SB 233 provides a legal exemption for voluntary contributions to portable benefit plans. This means that gig workers can receive the benefits they need without being classified as employees, allowing them to retain their valuable flexibility.
The benefits provided by a portable benefit plan can include anything, not just health coverage and unlike traditional coverage, a portable benefit plan doesn’t require a worker to stay with one app or another to maintain their coverage.
While more work needs to be done at the state and federal level outside of Utah, the passage of SB 233 is an important first step toward improving the lives of gig workers. By providing access to essential benefits through these alternative mechanisms, we can help gig workers thrive and ensure that they have the support they need to succeed in the gig economy.
Other states and the federal government should take note. As Representative Ryan Wilcox said to the Utah House of Representatives, “Welcome to the Gig Economy.”