New Technologies and Future of Work Principles
The rise of the gig and sharing (or “on demand”) economy has created new jobs and income opportunities in virtually every corner of the country, allowing people to work independently and on flexible schedules, use their personal property to generate income, help them expand their businesses, and provide for themselves and their families. Policymakers should ensure that efforts to oversee or regulate new disruptive technologies further innovation and individual empowerment, instead of stifling it. To that end, TechNet supports the following principles:
- Establishing an innovation-friendly policy framework is the key to the competitiveness of the technology industry, and corresponding rules, regulations, and laws should be adjusted to allow for technological neutrality. TechNet opposes regulatory restrictions and unreasonable barriers to market entry imposed to protect existing markets from competition.
- The modern workforce requires a flexible employment environment that allows workers to find opportunities that best match their skills, interests, and availability. TechNet opposes efforts to eliminate or severely restrict this essential flexibility, including restrictions on the use of independent contractor and consultant classifications, inflexible overtime rules, and indiscriminate expansion of collective bargaining rules.
- Education and retraining policies that empower workers to keep their skills updated and in line with the changing demands and nature of work in the 21st century.
- Tax and labor policies should help promote economic opportunities, provide clarity, avoid creating significant administrative burdens for job creators, and should recognize the unique differences that exist among the business models of innovators operating in the growing gig and sharing segment of the economy.
- TechNet supports efforts to develop new avenues and “safe-harbors” that empower companies to voluntarily provide benefits to workers where appropriate without impacting classification outcomes.
- Federal policies should support innovative efforts to establish portable benefits programs that empower workers to maintain benefits as they move from opportunity to opportunity. Any portable benefits program should be guided by the following principles:
- Participation should be voluntary, and the program should maintain the flexibility these workers seek while avoiding making the American independent workforce too expensive. These programs must recognize the differences between commoditized and differentiated business models for finding work.
- The program should empower companies to provide portable benefits to workers by establishing a safe harbor with respect to the independent contractor status of workers.
- The program should not impede the ability of self-employed workers, independent contractors, freelancers, and other small businesses to find work online by imposing “one-size-fits-all” benefits policies.