A gig economy is a job market based on work positions that are typically on-demand, independent, and on a short-term, per-project basis. Examples of gig employees in the workforce are freelancers, independent contractors, project-based workers, and temporary workers. Many gig economy roles are derived through an app platform that connects customers and businesses to workers; examples include Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer, Thumbtack, Uber, Instacart, and AirBnB.
The benefits of a gig economy for businesses include being able to hire someone for a specific job with key skill sets, without having to supply benefits such as health insurance, disability insurance, sick leave, vacation time, and office space. It is estimated that two-thirds of major companies are using freelance contract workers to lower labor costs. The benefits for gig workers include flexibility in schedules, controllable work-life balance, the ability to work remotely, and the ability to earn extra income in addition to primary income sources.
A 2018 Gallup study titled "Gig Economy and Alternative Work Assignments" found that 36% of Americans workers participate in a gig work arrangement, for either primary or supplementary sources of income. Gig work is estimated to contribute to more than $1 trillion to the US economy annually.
There are currently no laws guaranteeing unemployment insurance, workers' compensation, paid time off, or employer-provided health care.
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