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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

U.S. employers currently have just 2 options for classifying their workers: employees and independent contractors.

But but but: Neither really suits the on-demand economy.

  • Employees are considered to be under the control of their employer, which can dictate when and how they perform their work. It's antithetical to the flexible design of on-demand economy jobs, while the corresponding liabilities are antithetical to on-demand economy business models.
  • Independent contractors provide goods and services while retaining control over schedule and compensation. But on-demand economy workers clearly don't have real control over what they're paid, as evidenced by recent ride-hail driver strikes in Los Angeles after rates were suddenly slashed.

A solution could be the widespread adoption of "portable benefits."

  • On-demand economy workers would earn a per-transaction fee that gets put into an account they could carry from job to job, redeemable for benefits like health insurance.
  • Each company's contribution would thus be proportional to the amount of work performed.
  • Portable benefits bills have been introduced in several states, like Washington, and at the federal level in 2017 by Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.).

The pros: This would provide on-demand economy workers with many of the rewards of employment without actually having to be employed. Plus, while not directly impacting compensation, it could reduce the costly variability of health-care expenses.

The cons: Some workers might prefer to receive those per-transaction fees directly, or companies might use such fees as a pretext to lower take-home pay. Plus, it might not always be applicable to those working part-time, or might effectively force those people to work longer hours.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

49 mins ago - World

U.K. prosecutors charge third person in poisoning of former Russian spy

Emergency services members in biohazard encapsulated suits encasing the poisoning scene in a tent in Salisbury, England, in March 2018. Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images

U.K. prosecutors said they had enough evidence to charge Denis Sergeev, a member of the Russian military intelligence service, in the 2018 Salisbury nerve agent attack against a former Russian spy, according to AP.

Why it matters: Sergeev is the third person to face charges for the nerve agent attack against Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, both of whom survived.

2 hours ago - Technology

Scoop: More boycotts coming for Facebook

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Leaders of the Stop Hate For Profit social media boycott group are discussing whether to organize another campaign against Facebook in light of an explosive investigative series from the Wall Street Journal, Common Sense CEO Jim Steyer tells Axios.

The intrigue: Sources tell Axios that another group, separate from the Stop Hate For Profit organization, is expected to launch its own ad boycott campaign this week.

Democrats' dwindling 2022 map

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Democrats are trying to unseat only about half as many Republican House members next year as they did in 2020, trimming their target list from 39 to 21.

Why it matters: The narrowing map — which reflects where Democrats see their best chance of flipping seats — is the latest datapoint showing the challenging political landscape the party faces in the crucial 2022 midterms.