Questions we’re asking about the contingent workforce in 2018

The relationship between workers, employers, and government regulations is a balancing act. Each affects the others as inter-connectedly as any of nature’s most delicate symbiotic relationships. The contingent workforce is changing the employer/employee landscape everywhere. Similarly, government changes in healthcare and tax codes are sending a ripple effect through the system. Here’s just a taste of what 2017 has us thinking about as we move into the New Year.

  1. Healthcare: The subject is one of the biggest debates of our time. In theory, the Affordable Care Act made working independently more feasible than ever. One question we face as the Trump Administration chips away at the ACA is whether contingent workers will need to return to employee status or stay in jobs they’d otherwise leave.
  2. Taxes: The theory behind the new tax code maintains that changes benefiting employers will make American businesses more competitive and give the US economy a boost. It remains to be seen how or if these benefits will translate to contingent workers’ wellbeing.
  3. Workers’ Rights and Employers’ rights: Uber and similar companies are going through the early rounds of redefining the legalities around the new landscape. Where do workers’ rights end and employers’ rights begin? It’s a question that will continue to be duked out in courtrooms in 2018.
  4. Natural disasters: 2017 was a record-breaking year for natural disasters. Hurricanes and immobilizing snowstorms can put independent workers out of work for a long time without the protection of an employer. Without some preventative planning, small businesses may be at risk for having to close doors altogether. 
  5. #MeToo: In a way that only social media can do, the #MeToo movement has given a loud voice to a quiet, but longstanding complaint. What was formally a pervasive problem across all industries is now the stuff of crumbling careers and sweeping policy change. In the wake of the attention, many big companies adjusted their events, including prohibiting booze, at their 2017 holiday parties in an effort to prevent any bad behavior.
  6. Paw-ternity leave? With the woman who was granted two days’ sick pay to care for ailing dog, 2017 has us wondering if paw-ternity leave will be yesterday’s headline and tomorrow’s standard practice.

These are some of the issues that made news in 2017 and will continue to shape the economic landscape. We can only guess what’s next, but there’s no doubt it’s a time of great change in the country and economy. What’s on your radar for the coming year?

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