Principles represent the first step toward legislation providing independent workers with key benefits while confirming a national regulatory framework that better supports independent work
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Flex, the trade association representing America's leading app-based rideshare and delivery platforms and the people who count on them, announced principles for federal legislation to provide portable benefits today. 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.
Key elements of the principles include:
Flexibility: app-based workers should be able to select the portable benefits they want;
Proportionality: contributions should be based on earnings from different sources; and
Portability: benefits should be tied to the app-based workers so benefits can accrue across platforms
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.
Acknowledging that millions of individuals are drawn to app-based platforms for the freedom and flexibility to determine the terms of their working lives, the framework should serve as the basis for federal legislative proposals to ensure app-based workers have access to benefits while also maintaining their access to independent earning opportunities.
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. This outdated dichotomy impacts industries beyond app-based platforms. Flex developed these principles to outline a potential path forward and is hopeful that other industries will see the value of portable benefits.
“Our industry is committed to meeting the needs of today’s modern workforce, especially as the future of work continues to evolve,” said Flex CEO Kristin Sharp. “Should these principles serve as the basis for Congressional legislation, millions of app-based workers could gain access to a new benefits framework while maintaining the flexibility and independence they choose in–and want from–app-based work.”
There are over 23 million app-based workers in the U.S., from women and caregivers to veterans, communities of color, and people with disabilities. In the first-ever national poll of app-based workers, an overwhelming majority (77%) of app-based workers expressed their preference to remain independent contractors. Most app-based workers (80%) work only 20 or fewer hours per week on platforms, and 81% of app-based workers report having used multiple apps during a given work period.
“Our goal is to advance common-sense solutions that empower app-based workers and their families, and we look forward to working with policymakers, regulators, and other stakeholders to turn these principles into reality,” Sharp said.
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The Flex Association’s framework for federal portable benefits legislation is built on six key principles:
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.
Flex is the voice of the app-based economy, representing America's leading app-based rideshare and delivery platforms and the people who count on them. Our member companies—DoorDash, Grubhub, HopSkipDrive, Instacart, Lyft, Shipt, and Uber—help provide access to crucial goods and services to customers safely and efficiently, offer flexible earning opportunities to workers, and support economic growth in communities across the country. Together, we advocate for policies that enable our industry to continue delivering for the people who count on our platforms.