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Washington state lawmakers consider “portable benefits” for gig workers

On the heels of California’s landmark AB 5 law requiring some companies in the on-demand “gig” economy to treat thousands of self-employed contractors like regular employees, the Seattle City Council expanded worker protections for gig workers. Lawmakers in New York and New Jersey are expected to follow suit.

The changes for the gig economy likely won’t stop there, according employment attorneys who recently spoke to Bloomberg Law. What’s next could include so-called portable benefits, which provide workers who have several employers with access to retirement, paid time off and other common benefits using a fund to which gig companies contribute.

The idea gained national attention in November, according to Bloomberg, when Philadelphia passed a “bill of rights” for 16,000 domestic workers, giving them perks like paid time off.

Another example is the Black Car Fund in New York City, which provides benefits to drivers working for black-car services and Lyft and Uber.

Washington’s House of Representatives recently introduced a bill that would create portable benefits for gig workers.

Emery Reddy helps workers. Call us at if you have a question about your employment status, or if you have an L&I, workers’ comp, injury, or employment law claim. You won’t get better advice.

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