Comment from Stanley Anderson

I am please to see that the Department of Labor is working to solve the independent contractor issue that is at play in society. Due to many interested group trying to fix the price of labor at $15/hour, I am growing increasingly concerned that there is an appetite to eliminate the independent contractor position due to special circumstances of a few individuals who over-rely on gig work and cannot afford health insurance. I want to speak for the majority of independent contractors whom, as the proposed law describes, are not economically dependent on the contracted employer.

As an example, I am currently a graduate student on fellowship who delivers food and ride shares as a secondary job. This decision has yielded me over $10,000 in additional income that I would not be able to gain due to the restrictive nature of regular employment. Moreover, considering the restrictions that the pandemic has caused throughout the nation, work has been even more difficult to find. I thankfully was able to endure the summer Andean have since resumed my operations and have earned an additional $1,000 in income. To put that in perspective, earning a “living wage” at an Amazon fulfillment center would require around 60 hours of work to earn the same amount of money. I was able to do this in one third the amount of time.

I do not consider this amazing employment condition to be sustained by any other mechanism other than the one that I previously described. If my gig work was turned into a job that paid $15/hour, the political pressure that caused the wage to go this high would disipate once this level of income was reached. The company is bargaining with a third party on how to compensate a second party and since the third party does not know what the second party is thinking, their good intention destroys the worker’s own ability to bargain. Furthermore, at this hourly rate of income, any complaints that compensation is not high enough would turn the public against the worker as that hour rate is considered enough to be “well off” despite the fact the fact it could have been higher if one size fits all approach was not taken. Therefore, despite what is advertised by media figures and social democrats, having a health plan and a “living wage” does not guarantee every individual maximal prosperity, particularly for workers who rely on their independent work for secondary income and have insurance plans already.

For these reasons, I find it unconscionable to ask people like me to be forced to operate as a regular employee. Not only is the total amount of work less than what I would have needed if I worked under a normal employment contract, it was also less physically and mentally demanding than most other roles I have taken on. Furthermore, the hours that I do work are hours that many businesses are not in operation. I have effectively economized time where I would not be able to work under normal conditions.

With that said, I am simply creating a case that there is a need for independent contractors in this economy and it is a deal that works for many hardworking Americans seeking additional income, not benefits. Those who are working under an independent contract full time frankly, must secure permanent employment first before trying to make an independent gig function as a normal job. At the very least, it should be up to the worker to determine the manner in which he would like to be compensated. When employers and employees agree to these terms, there is no need for a third party to referee. I sympathize with those who do not have the situation that I am in, but I would like the government to adopt a policy of not harming one group to benefit another. I would welcome the department of labor to carry out its decision to continue to defend the rights of independent contractors to work the best deal for them individually.

This is not a matter of equality, but that of individual liberty and I support the Department of Labor’s refined stance on establishing that independent contractors have no economic dependence on their employers, but are there out of a desire to earn money the way they see fit. It is the prudent way to treat every individual as a free person operating in their own way to pursue happiness.

Comment ID: WHD-2020-0007-1381 | 23-Oct-20

Categorized under Independence, Supplemental Income

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