2023 Bills

SB 233: Pathway to Better Coverage Options for Gig Workers

This bill passed the House 71-2 and passed the Senate 25-0. Review our tracker for more information.

Libertas Institute supports this bill

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

Libertas supports Senate Bill 233, introduced by Senator John Johnson. This bill would offer a pathway for independent contractors and gig workers to access affordable coverage options by clarifying that voluntary contributions from hiring parties will not create an employment relationship. 

Portable benefits plans act like an insurance product where gig workers pay premiums in exchange for coverage. These plans often offer health insurance, but they could also include disability insurance, income replacement, dental insurance, automotive insurance, and more.

Even more relevant than the type of insurance they provide, however, is the way they are set up to benefit workers. Instead of spreading out risk by pooling workers with others within a company, these plans simply spread out risk by grouping independent contractors and gig workers together. What this means, practically, is that coverage isn’t tied to a worker’s employer in the traditional way coverage is offered today. 

Senator Johnson’s bill would expand on this concept, allowing gig economy platforms and other hiring parties to offer full or matching contributions to portable benefit plans, significantly lowering the cost of coverage for workers.

While state solutions like Senator Johnson’s are only one of several necessary reforms to improve the lives of independent contractors and gig workers, this bill would put Utah on the cutting edge of labor law. If successful, the Utah model will be a shining example of the right path forward for other states and the federal government as we embrace a future of work that is flexible and worker-centric.