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Developing Portable Benefits Solutions

Our nation’s labor laws are currently structured so that workers have the benefits of traditional employment or the autonomy of independent work—but not both.

Flex has set forth federal principles for legislation to provide portable benefits for app-based earners. Policymakers, regulators, and other stakeholders should look to these common-sense principles to create a fairer and more equitable future for all earners while preserving their access to independent earning opportunities.

Landmark Principles for Portable Benefits

Marking the first time the app-based industry has reached consensus on a national approach to providing app-based workers with benefits, the principles also set forth the importance of regulatory certainty for app-based workers and platforms alike so that the flexibility of independent work continues.
The principles are built on 6 key elements:


App-based workers should be able to choose how to use their portable benefits, including for, but not limited to, retirement, health, and paid leave.


App-based platform contributions should be in proportion to how much app-based workers earn. App-based earners should also be able to contribute to their account.


Benefits should be tied to the app-based worker, enabling them to contribute to and use the account regardless of which app-based platform(s) they are using.


App-based workers and platforms that are covered would be guided by a national test governing their classification as independent contractors and the workers’ relationship with app-based platforms.


Such portable benefits accounts should be efficiently managed by approved third-party institutions.


Independent contractors deriving their benefits from a portable account should be eligible for the same kinds of tax breaks and pre-tax contributions as employees.

The principles also call for affording app-based workers the same tax-advantages that employees receive as employment benefits and allowing workers to make additional contributions.

Learn More

Flex CEO Kristin Sharp testified at a hearing on portable benefits in front of the House Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Workforce Protections. Read her full testimony here and oral testimony here.


The Portable Benefits for Independent Workers Pilot Program Act

U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Todd Young (R-IN) joined by U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA-01) have introduced legislation to test innovative portable benefits designs for the growing independent workforce. The Portable Benefits for Independent Workers Pilot Program Act seeks to provide workers with access to insurance protections typically provided through traditional full-time employment. Read more »

“Flex thanks Senators Warner and Young, Congresswoman DelBene and all the co-sponsors of this bill for acknowledging that while work in the 21st century has evolved, our laws have not. We need a third way—like portable benefits—that allows app-based earners to maintain their flexibility and freedom while also providing them access to benefits.”

Kristin Sharp, CEO, Flex