When people think of gig workers, Uber drivers often come to mind. Research shows, however, that only 15-20% of gig workers are in online technology platforms like Uber and Lyft. The majority of gig workers are offline, filling contract or seasonal positions at traditional companies.
Nontraditional workers are becoming increasingly more common with 16% of the U.S. workforce doing only gig work and another 10% doing gig work in addition to a traditional job. This translates to more than 25% of the workforce doing some kind of gig work.
As the gig worker population increases, some employers are expressing interest in offering benefits to nontraditional workers, such as contract and seasonal workers. According to a LIMRA study, among employers that offer benefits, 16% currently extend them to 1099 contract workers, while 29% do so for seasonal workers.
Despite this interest, there are often unique challenges that come with administering benefits for nontraditional workers. These workers may have variable hours or limited periods of employment with the company, arrangements that create difficulties for employers around keeping track of eligibility for benefits and collecting premium payments.
Among the top challenges companies cite for offering benefits to nontraditional workers are: keeping track of eligibility, low employee engagement and managing enrollment.
From the gig workers’ perspective, they express financial concern with income insecurity (54%) and lack of access to traditional benefits (47%). Half of gig workers are worried about having money for a comfortable retirement, while 45% are concerned about paying living expenses if they become disabled and paying medical expenses in case of illness or injury (42%).
Gig workers are much less likely to have all of the benefits offered to traditional workers such as retirement savings, dental insurance, health insurance and disability insurance.
To learn more about gig workers and benefits, watch the latest Unplugged episode with Kim Landry, assistant research director, LIMRA Workplace Benefits Research.