Where the Candidates Stand on Gig Talent Issues
Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, has been vocal about the topic. On several occasions, she’s criticized and spoken out against businesses that misclassify workers as independent contractors to circumvent regulations and costs. In a recent Washington Post article, Clinton vowed to “crack down on bosses who exploit employees by misclassifying them as contractors or even stealing their wages.”
Uber and similar companies have capitalized on the digital economy to pioneer a new method of service delivery. They warrant a lot of praise from politicians, including Clinton. Although she attempts to align herself with those who want to propel innovation, she also strikes a tough stance on regulation. The question, to paraphrase the Washington Post, comes down to this: Are independent gig workers really micro-entrepreneurs and therefore independent, or are businesses engaging in a massive tax dodge by classifying them as such?
“This on-demand, or so-called gig economy is creating exciting economies and unleashing innovation,” Clinton said. “But it is also raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future.”
On the issues section of Clinton’s website, she posts a number of proposals aimed at creating a fair yet competitive workforce for the new economic realities. Some examples include:
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- Paid family and medical leave benefits, funded by taxes rather than employers
- Debt-free college education
- Workforce skills and job training
- Incentives and tax relief for small businesses and entrepreneurs, which would include independent contractors
- Employer profit-sharing programs
- Revised labor and worker rights for the new era
Republican nominee Donald Trump has not directly addressed the gig economy or the matter of employment classification. He posits himself as becoming the “greatest jobs producer” of all time. During his campaign rallies, he has highlighted several elements of his job growth plan.
Trump mainly emphasizes his commitment to revitalizing and reinvesting in American manufacturing. During his campaign in Pennsylvania, he told the audience, “America has lost nearly one-third of its manufacturing jobs since 1997 — even as the country has increased its population by 50 million people.” Trumps attributes the problem to overseas outsourcing, empowered by the North American Free Trade Agreement and China’s entry into the World Trade Organization.
- Trump says he’ll withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
- Trump seeks to eliminate “wasteful rules and regulations which are destroying our job creation capability.”
Most of Trump’s positions involve a way to curtail offshoring. For freelancers and independent contractors, there could be advantages. In the scenario, Trump envisions, gig workers would have less competition for projects if cheap overseas outsourcing were somehow eliminated. It’s difficult to gauge the impact of Trump’s removal of “wasteful rules and regulations.” On one hand, independent contractors may benefit from an overhaul of existing standards. On the other hand, Trump’s opponents fear, he could threaten to destroy the protections that workers currently have.
Perhaps the biggest benefit for gig talent would come from Trump’s 15-percent corporate tax rate for all businesses. As Nancy Collamer explains in her insightful Forbes article, “Under the Trump tax plan, while a worker earning more than $50,000 as an employee would be taxed at either 20 or 25%, that same person would owe a 15% tax rate as an independent contractor.”
Read the full story at How Clinton, Trump and MSPs Could Shape the Future of Gig Talent