2022 Bills

SB 199: Clarifying Worker Classification in the Gig Economy

This bill did not receive a vote. 

Libertas Institute supports this bill

Staff review of this legislation finds that it aligns with our principles and should therefore be passed into law.

Today’s gig economy is a shining example of the norm-shifting potential of innovations. Working in the gig economy could mean designing websites, creating musical tracks, picking up and delivering groceries, or offering rides around town. Realistically, a worker participating in the gig economy could do all of these things to earn income throughout the year, capitalizing on the entrepreneurial opportunity afforded by gig platforms in the modern service economy. This entrepreneurial opportunity is a driving factor in growing the gig economy, which made up over 55 million jobs in 2017.

Yet, despite the flourishing growth of employment opportunities afforded by the modern gig economy, worker classification laws are tied to the workplace norms of the past. The National Labor Relations Act of 1935, passed at the height of the Great Depression, laid out the prevailing framework for worker classification, which is still used today. Gig platforms, by contrast, were unimagined at that time and, today, are left unaddressed. 

This gap in employment law leaves gig platforms on shaky ground. In addition to deterring platforms from entering the market, this also means the more than 55 million jobs created by the gig economy are subject to uncertainty. 

The first step toward offering regulatory certainty, protecting gig economy jobs, and welcoming more platforms to Utah is the proposed Senate Bill 199, sponsored by Senator John Johnson. This bill clearly defines the relationship between gig platforms and gig workers. This bill will create a clear legal framework to define gig platforms and gig workers in a way that will encourage new innovations and opportunities in Utah. If passed, this bill will put Utah in a position to lead the way for the gig economy and the future of work.