The co-founder of WorkMarket, https://www.workmarket.com/about#jeff-wald Jeff Wald, hosted a webinar today on what the new Trump administration will mean for the on-demand economy. Since I differentiate the Gig Economy from the On-Demand one in my new book, Thriving in the Gig Economy, which will be coming out next spring, I listened more for the implications for the career gig workers, experts who have chosen to create a careers as independent workers.
With the disclaimer that no one REALLY knows what may happen, Wald's prediction was two fold - what is likely to happen in 2017 and what may happen in 2018. Immediately after the inauguration, regulations , especially those resulting from the 2010 Obama task force meant to tackle worker misclassification would be discontinued or not enforced. The misclassification, of course, refers to the independent contractor vs. employee issue, which I have probably blogged too much about. ( See my post I am Uber the Uber Lawsuit ) Moreover, he thought the task force would be disbanded immediately. This could bode well for many senior consultants who would like to work independently as an independent contractor but have clients who are wary of the misclassification risk.
Wald did not think the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as ObamaCare would be repealed, rather he thought it would be revised into "DonaldCare", where certain elements would be maintained, like the coverage of children up to 26 on their parents' plans. The ACA has been a key enabler in the gig economy, since the ability to secure health insurance make the decision to go solo a more viable one. Although I hope Wald is correct on this prognostication, I am withholding judgement until the Labor Secretary is named.
Perhaps the most important action, and the one which will have the least attention, is the appointment of a new Commissioner for the National Labor Relations Board. (NLRB) One of two recent NLRB decisions adversely impacted the staffing industry, by increasing the risk of co-employment when using temporary staffing/gig workers. A new NLRB appointee could reverse that decision, which would be a boon for temporary and specialty staffing firms.
And finally, the Supreme Court appointment could have a major impact on the workplace. Frederick vs. the California Teachers' Association was denied a hearing in a 4 to 4 decision in June. The case involved mandatory union fees. The tea leaves Wald reads suggests that a rehearing with a new more conservative court would strike down the mandatory fees, which would be a major blow to organized labor. Since many are suggesting the gig economy should become unionized, much like Hollywood back in the day, such an action may alter that thinking.
Looking into his crystal ball for 2018, Wald thought there could be some movement in the chronic problem of worker classification. Trump likes to simplify complexity, and the rules governing independent contractor compliance are nothing if not complex. Wald thought there is a chance that certain benefits, like retirement, may be unbundled from employment. (Again something I just blogged about as well - Work, Jobs and the Gig Economy ). Finally, tax reform will likely take until 2018, since it is a complex problem. Again, in the interest of simplification, the new tax regulations could eliminate many of the business deduction provisions that have been a mainstay of the self-employed career consultants. That said, a lot will happen between now and then. Time to strap on for the ride.