We can safely say that one of the biggest supporters of the gig economy is Virginia Senator Mark Warner (D). Back in 2016, he advocated for the Labor Department to update its statistics to help us get better insight into the size of the gig economy. In 2017, he crafted a concept and introduced a bill to assist local governments with funding and development of portable benefits for gig workers, then followed that up with a proposal designed to tackle tax issues that arise for gig workers. He’s at it again.
Yesterday, Warner introduced an amendment to the pending congressional appropriations package (H.R. 6157) that would move us one step closer to allowing gig workers to maintain portable benefits. According to Bloomberg’s Ty Richardson, Warner’s amendment would establish a $20 million grant program through the Department of Labor that would allow for some experimentation with the concept of health care, retirement, and other portable benefits for the contingent workforce. If this sounds familiar, you’re right. It essentially mimics the same proposal he introduced last year, which is stalled out in committee and doesn’t seem very likely to proceed.
We’ll continue to monitor these developments and provide updates. Portable benefits would provide a massive boost to the gig economy, permitting hesitant workers to join the gig landscape without fear of losing out on valuable healthcare benefits typically associated with standard 9-to-5 jobs.