Over the past few years, taking a gig work job has become a new norm for many people, even if they already have a full-time job. Gig workers find jobs like ridesharing, food delivery, package delivery, and property maintenance. These jobs can be hazardous and labor intensive. Because they are often considered independent contractors, it is difficult to determine what rights gig workers have, including Workers’ Compensation benefits.
Independent contractors and gig workers are essentially self-employed. They are not considered employees of the company they work for, thus do not receive the same benefits that an employee would. Even if they drive for companies like Uber or deliver food for Grubhub, a gig worker works for themselves, while an employee works for an employer.
Some other aspects that define a gig worker include:
- Works only as needed and completes tasks for a company on a case-by-case basis.
- Has the ability to set their own hours and choose what type of work they do.
- Specializes in a certain skill and works for multiple companies.
- Has control over how service is provided; an employer does not have control over how the work is done.
- Receives payment by the job, while employees receive specific wages or salary.
- Provides their own tools for a job, as opposed to having tools provided for them.
- Granted few or no benefits from an employer, such as paid vacation, sick leave, retirement benefits, or health insurance.
- Is not eligible for legal protections against discrimination or harassment.
- Has minimal rights compared to employees.
More and more companies hire gig workers for certain jobs solely based on money. Using a gig worker other than hiring an employee lets the employer avoid paying federal taxes like Social Security or Medicare, Workers’ Compensation insurance, or unemployment compensation. The employer also does not have to pay benefits like 401(k)s or health insurance. Furthermore, an employer can avoid certain federal laws that protect workers from discrimination and harassment.
What Should I Do if I Suffered an Injury While Gig Working?
Because gig workers are not given the same benefits that employees receive, it is difficult to receive any compensation should they suffer an injury while on the job. However, because the gig economy is relatively new to a lot of companies, laws and rules regarding gig work is always shifting in the gig workers’ favor. Some companies are even beginning to offer some form of modified benefits for the gig workers they hire.
Because Workers’ Compensation benefits are generally given to employees and not independent contractors, knowing your classification for the work you do is critical. For some independent contractors, their work may fit the independent contactor definition well. However, there are some gig workers whose companies they work for select their hours and pay and control more aspects of the job than usual.
Most gig workers carry their own health insurance in case of injury, which may provide a worker injury clause in their policy. However, every injury case is considered case-by-case, even if the injury occurred while gig working. Being misclassified in your job role further complicates matters, so if you have suffered a work-related injury, you should always speak with a lawyer and discuss your case.
West Chester Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello Help Injured Gig Workers Understand Their Rights
If you are a gig worker and have been injured on the job, contact our West Chester Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello to discuss your case. Call us at (610) 892-4940 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Media, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Lancaster, Montgomery County, Norristown, Philadelphia, Reading, and West Chester.