From Workforce, Gene Zaino discusses MBO Partners’ proposal for a Certified Self-Employed (CSE) designation. Gene writes:
It is time to streamline the system with a federally recognized “Certified Self-Employed,” or CSE, designation that would allow solo entrepreneurs to declare their independence from traditional employment. By doing so, they would voluntarily waive traditional employment protections in exchange for the ability to operate unambiguously as one-person independent businesses, with all of the advantages that independence entails. The system would remove roadblocks to smooth and risk-free engagement between independent contractor and client, while differentiating between the truly independent and on-demand workers — like Uber drivers — who are currently treated as employees but exist in legal limbo.
The outsized attention currently paid to commodity service platforms like Uber and Handy, a house cleaning website, because of recent legal disputes has contributed to a widespread misunderstanding of the independent workforce in America. These on-demand workers represent a small fraction of the gig economy at large, and the mounting rulings governing them risk sweeping up the entire independent workforce. Treating all independent workers as the same will exacerbate the problem instead of solving it.
The CSE solution is flexible because it is voluntary. Most independent workers are professional career independents engaging with client enterprises to offer highly skilled work on a contract basis. These entrepreneurs need to be able to build their businesses, access benefits, file their taxes, process transactions and engage with their clients safely. The federally recognized safe harbor CSE classification would accomplish these things by creating a safe environment for private industry to work with the self-employed.