The Gig Worker Dilemma: Flexibility, But Few Protections

Newsy's 'Off The Trail' series digs into the gig economy to see what happens when a gig becomes a full-time job.

The Gig Worker Dilemma: Flexibility, But Few Protections
Newsy / Matt Anzur

The nature of work in America is changing. And that's due in part to the gig economy. More people are working part-time, short-term "gig" jobs, like ride-share driving or app-based deliveries. A growing number of those gig workers are relying on these jobs as their primary source of income. 

But because their employers consider gig workers to be independent contractors, workers go without benefits, overtime pay and many of the worker protections provided to full-time workers. 

Kia Neros that are part of the Lyft ride-hailing fleet sit unused in a lot near Empower Field at Mile High in Denver.

UPDATE: How Are Gig Workers Faring In Today’s Economy?

Americans are now turning to "gig" work to make quick cash, and also have control over their own work schedules.


Newsy partnered with Ipsos to get a better sense of what the American public and gig workers themselves would like to see change in the gig economy. Of all registered voters surveyed, 71% said they support extending full-time workers' rights to gig workers. Among gig workers, 87% supported extending rights. Still, 81% of gig workers said flexible working conditions were important to keeping costs low for employers. 

In this episode of "Off The Trail," Newsy follows gig workers weighing the benefits of freedom and flexibility versus a lack of benefits and worker protections.

Video editing and animation by Jennifer Smart and videography by Matt Anzur, Luke Piotrowski, Kevin Clancy and Kyle Pyatt are included in this video. Original survey results come from our Ipsos-Newsy survey (see the full findings here).