For the first time in almost a decade, Ryan Seacrest has a new New Year’s Eve Times Square correspondent for Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest because co-host Jenny McCarthy decided to call it quits for the 2019-2020 broadcast.
McCarthy revealed the news back in October on Live with Kelly and Ryan, citing her son, Evan, asking her to spend more time with him in between seasons of FOX reality singing competition The Masked Singer.
“We’re shooting Masked Singer 3, which is exciting, in December and January and my son, who is 17, says, ‘Can we please, please stay home this year?’ and I was like, ‘You know what? He’s going to be 18 [soon], he’s going to want nothing to do with me,’” said McCarthy. “We’re so busy that I said, you know what, I’m going to tap out. I talked to Ryan last week and I said I’m not going to be doing New Year’s Eve this year.”
McCarthy added, “But I gotta say, it was the most wonderful time. As you know, working with Ryan — it’s a dream. We can’t say that about a lot of people in this business. He’s a dream.”
“Ninety-nine percent of them it’s a nightmare,” said Kelly Ripa. “Ryan is a dream.”
“So I thank you, and I’m going to be so excited to watch,” finished McCarthy.
Seacrest also had nothing but praise for his co-host, saying McCarthy has been “the most amazing partner on New Year’s Eve with us in Times Square.”
Taking over for McCarthy is actress Lucy Hale, who has been the Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve New Orleans correspondent since 2016. She’ll be the new Times Square host and Pose star Billy Porter will take over for Hale in New Orleans. For the second year in a row, Ciara will host the Hollywood segments.
New Year’s Eve marks the end of a calendar year on the Gregorian calendar, the calendar first introduced in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom it is named. Most countries celebrate the final day the year with parties, social gatherings, festivals, and/or fireworks. It goes by many names the world over, including Hogmanay in Scotland, Calennig in Wales, Baharu in Indonesia and Malaysia, Silvester in many European countries, Reveillon in France, Portugal, and Brazil, Kanun Novodgo Goda in Russia, and Omisoka in Japan.
Kiritimati, Tonga, and New Zealand are some of the first places to celebrate New Year’s Eve because they are located just west of the International Date Line, while the U.S.’ Baker Island is one of the last places to celebrate because it is just east of the International Date Line. Interestingly, because of the way the International Date Line jogs around a bit, Kiritimati is actually east of Baker Island.
In the United States, New Year’s is traditionally celebrated with parties and “drops,” the most famous of which is the ball drop held in New York City’s Times Square. But there are dozens of other “drops” held across the country, including a conch drop in Key West, Florida; a peach drop in Atlanta; an Indy car drop in Indianapolis; an acorn drop in Raleigh, North Carolina; a moon pie drop in Mobile, Alabama; a fleur-de-lis drop in New Orleans, a “Glowtato” drop in Boise, Idaho; and a tortilla chip drop in Tempe, Arizona, which is tied in to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl game of college football.
New York also rings in the new year with a “Midnight Run” around Central Park that includes a fireworks show. Other fireworks displays around the country include shows at the Disney theme parks, the Las Vegas strip, and the Chicago “Chi-Town Rising” event.
Busting 5 Myths About Gig Work Platforms
By Michelle V. Rafter, Next Avenue Contributor
Tamma Ford, 65, knew next to nothing about websites for finding gig work when she consulted one five years ago. Today, the Santa Clarita, Calif. small-business consultant and ghostwriter relies on one such platform — Upwork — for 80% of her work. Over the past four years, she’s become a top-rated contributor there, earning more than $100,000 in total.
“It works for me,” Ford said.
If you dismissed gig work sites as only for the young and tech savvy or assumed the only jobs offered are driving for ride sharing or food delivery apps, you could be overlooking a potentially valuable source of income.
Myths About Gig Work Platforms
Many myths about gig work platforms have sprouted in recent years. They’ve caused some people over 50 to incorrectly assume both bad and good things about this increasingly popular way to work.
38% of those 65+ who did some kind of paid work in the previous 12 months identify as freelancers.
Below, experts and gig workers dispel five of these myths. But first, a little about how gig platforms work.
As you likely know, a maturing gig economy as spawned online marketplaces where freelancers, independent contractors and other self-employed people can find assignments. Gig work platform sites match people with short-term and ongoing work for organizations in a variety of industries.
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At on-demand labor sites like Uber and Postmates, it doesn’t matter who’s providing the service as long as the person has a car. But employers on project-based sites like Upwork, Fiverr, ADP’s WorkMarket and LinkedIn’s ProFinder service want to know who they’re partnering with, said Marion McGovern, author of Thriving in the Gig Economy: How to Capitalize and Compete in the New World of Work.
Here are five common misperceptions about gig work sites and what you need to know to use them:
1. They’re only for millennials. Gig work isn’t just for the young. Some 29% of people 50 and older (and 38% of those 65+) who worked for pay in the previous 12 months identify as freelancers, according to the 2018 Freelancing in America survey, conducted for Freelancers Union and Upwork.
Dan Hays, 69, spent years in the oil and gas and title insurance industries before a career change that’s led him to write video scripts and other marketing materials, mainly through Fiverr. Hays, of Fort Worth, Texas, even set up a channel on Slack, the workplace collaboration app, to talk shop with older freelancers he’s met on the site.
Hays works 10 to 15 hours a week, finishing by lunchtime so his afternoons are free for the gym or other activities. “Quitting at 65 wasn’t of interest to me,” he said. “I’ll work until I say I’m done. It’s partly because I need to and partly because I love it.”
2. Gig work doesn’t pay well. Yes, the gig economy has its fair share of low-paid work. But platforms for knowledge-based work aim to distinguish themselves by offering gigs with higher pay.
The majority of projects listed on Upwork, for instance, earn $1,000 or more, said Shoshana Deuschkron, the company’s vice president of communications and brand. And a third of Upwork’s U.S. freelancers earn $50 an hour or more.
Some of the highest paid work on the site is in accounting and finance, where people with experience in corporate restructuring, bitcoin or international accounting can make more than $200 an hour.
Fiverr has outgrown its name, a holdover from when the company started nine years ago by offering gigs that paid just $5. Fiverr still lists some low-priced work, but the designer who created Apple’s logo now sells logo services on Fiverr for $10,000, said Brent Messenger, Fiverr’s vice president of public policy and community.
“It’s evolved,” he said. “People should be pricing their services appropriately based on their talent and time and the market for their services.”
On Fiverr and some other gig work sites, freelancers who go through an internal vetting process or accumulate enough positive client reviews can become top-rated sellers or graduate to a “pro” account, which can help them charge higher fees and get more work.
People who’ve retired and become business consultants can charge more because they know more, McGovern said. “They have the wisdom of age,” she noted.
3. Gig work consists mainly of one-off and short-term jobs. Although some work on gig platforms is one and done, the services have increasingly attracted companies that use it to find, manage and pay regular contributors.
In the past two years, between a third and 40% of Ford’s gig work came from repeat customers. She’s written about 30 business plans for one business-broker client alone. A wealth management industry client pays her to write a range of business materials, from complicated emails to a book. “I’ve got six or seven stories like that,” she says.
Upwork and Fiverr representatives say Fortune 500 companies use them to manage and pay independent contractors. And ADP says 1,000 companies use its WorkMarket platform for managing freelancers, who can download the WorkMarket iOS or Android app to create a profile and search for jobs.
4. You can only find decent-paying gig work in tech. LinkedIn members who go through the company’s ProFinder approval process can offer their services in one of 14 categories, including accounting, business consulting, design, legal services, insurance and home improvement. Because ProFinder is meant to be a regional service, freelancers are generally limited to bidding on work within 100 miles of where they live.
In addition to general-purpose platforms, freelancers can find work on industry-specific sites, such as 99designs for graphic designers, and GigSalad for DJs, clowns and other talent for productions and events.
McGovern advises a talent hub called LifeSciHub for people in the life sciences industry. “It’s a very narrow space, with very specialized roles,” she said. “It’s a small world, and they don’t want to be on Upwork.”
No matter what type of gig platform you choose to use, however, you can’t expect to just throw up a profile and land work, McGovern said. “You have to work it, update things. There still is a level of work that goes into making those sites go,” she added.
5. And one myth that unfortunately isn’t true: Using gig platforms doesn’t cost anything. Actually, for acting as digital matchmakers, most gig-work platforms charge fees to people looking for freelance jobs.
Those fees differ by platform.
Fiverr charges freelancers a flat 20% transaction fee regardless of the size of the project. Freelancers can get approved to upgrade to the free Fiverr Pro level, which could land them at the top of search results and result in more work.
On ProFinder, once LinkedIn approves a self-employed pro to offer services, the person can respond to up to 10 project proposals at no charge. Beyond that, however, he or she must upgrade to the Premium Business level, which costs $59.99 a month or $575.88 a year.
Upwork charges freelancers on a sliding scale based on individual client billings. Freelancers are charged a 20% commission on the first $500 earned from a single client; 10% on $501 to $10,000 in billings and 5% on anything over that.
On Upwork, in addition to listing the services they offer and waiting for companies to come to them, freelancers can bid on posted gigs. Earlier this year, Upwork began charging freelancers a nominal amount of digital tokens called “Connects” that cost $.15 each to bid on posted gigs. The change came in part to cut down on unqualified contributors who Upwork says had overrun the bid process. Upwork also offers a premium Freelancer Plus account for $14.99 a month that includes extra Connects and other perks.
People like Hays and Ford who earn income through gig work platforms say the fees are the cost of doing business and save them from spending on other kind of marketing — or at least spending as much.
Rising Concern Over Working Conditions as China’s Gig Economy Booms | Voice of America
WASHINGTON – Liu Jin wanted his due — $733 in back pay.
As a scooter driver in a blue uniform, Liu gigged for Ele.me, an online food delivery service owned by the Alibaba Group, a growing multibillion-dollar behemoth that dominates China’s e-commerce.
On January 11, Liu showed up at Ele.me’s distribution center in Taizhou, doused himself in gasoline and set himself on fire. Onlookers captured the scene on video, their footage displaying the Ele.me slogan “Instant Delivery, Beautiful Life” on a wall behind the man engulfed in flames.
A video of the incident went viral on Weibo, China’s social media platform, as the 48-year-old worker was being treated for third-degree burns.
Liu’s protest in China’s eastern Jiangsu province came not long after a 43-year-old scooter driver referred to only as Han died while delivering meals in Beijing. Han also worked for Ele.me. The company’s insurance paid $4,600 in compensation to his wife, parents and two children.
When his family spoke out, the company offered $92,500. In a statement, Ele.me said that it “had not done enough in terms of accident death insurance and needs to do more.” A scooter delivery driver makes about $7.50 an hour as a gig worker, or from $615 to $1,230 a month if under contract, according to local media.
The incidents cast a spotlight on the working condition for China’s gig economy workers.
“This shows the helplessness of an ordinary workers,” said one commentator on Weibo.
“Now that the society is ‘ruled by law,’ the capitalists are not afraid of anything,” said another.
According to a 2020 report from the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, the only trade union Beijing tolerates, 6.5 million workers have joined the union since 2018.
Food delivery company sales are surging worldwide during the pandemic as those affluent enough to afford the services during protective isolation pay for meals delivered by people risking their health for low wages and in some countries, tips. Globally, gig workers were one of the fast-growing segments of the global labor market before the pandemic. In 2018, there were 43 million gig workers worldwide, according to a MasterCard survey, which projected that in 2023 there would be 78 million gig workers.
Yet in China and elsewhere these workers often have no access to benefits such as retirement programs, compensation for work-place injuries, vacation time and health care that attach to a formal labor contract.
Wang Debang, a rights activist from China’s southern province of Guangxi, told VOA Mandarin that China needs a systematic framework to protect the rights of gig economy workers.
“Without a universal system, there won’t be proper protection and compensation to these workers,” he said, adding that the press needs to act as a watchdog and track abuse of gig workers.
Li Qiang, director of the New York based rights group China Labor Watch, said that the gig economy workers have to pay a huge price to defend their rights through legal channels.
“Fighting through legal channels doesn’t guarantee you can get your salary back, and it’s extremely time consuming. So for most workers, they will choose to be quiet and quickly get another job,” said Li.
He added that labor unions in China need to be more effective to ensure proper enforcement of labor laws. He also pointed out when enforcing the law, local government authorities favor businesses over workers because companies are considered useful for creating job opportunities and maintaining social stability.
If workers protest, “they might be arrested and imprisoned for crimes such as ‘disrupting social order’ or ‘picking quarrels and provoking trouble,’ ” Li continued.
Although China recognized flexible and informal employment in 2001 in the tenth Five-Year Plan, Beijing has yet to implement real structural changes and protection for gig economy workers.
On January 20, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee received a draft regulation for review. According to the draft, workers, including those with flexible employments, can apply for legal aid to help solve disputes over work-related accidents such as traffic accidents, food and drug safety accidents, medical accidents and personal damages.
Teng Biao, a Chinese human rights lawyer, said the new regulation, if passed, will offer some help to those at the bottom of the society. But in China, he cautioned such regulation will have limited effect because of the centralized, authoritarian system.
“In many cases, it is not just a lack of legal service or legal consultation, but also the corruption in the entire legal channel,” he said. “The legal system in China is opaque and laws can be difficult to enforce, so the actual effect of legal aid will be limited.”
Lin Yang contributed to this report which originated on VOA Mandarin.
New to the gig economy? 3 things to know
Shutdowns, layoffs and salary cuts brought on by the coronavirus pandemic have left millions of Americans searching for new sources of income. Those who’ve recently turned to gig work may be weeks away from a financial surprise in the form of unexpected tax bills and insurance coverage fine print.
“These are the two key items that most new business owners overlook,” says Chris Russell, a San Diego-based certified financial planner who specializes in business owners and the self-employed.
Don’t consider yourself a small-business owner? Well, let’s start there.
To the IRS, you are a small business
Sure, you’re just running food deliveries. But that simple act makes you a small business in the eyes of the IRS. And that opinion is the only one that counts when it comes to taxes.
“Basically, you’re considered an independent contractor,” says Garrett Watson, a senior policy analyst with the Tax Foundation, a nonprofit organization. “You don’t need to do anything super complicated. You don’t need to incorporate or do anything like that.”
But you do need to pay taxes on any money you earn through gig work. This fact is often an unwelcome, and expensive, surprise for new gig workers. As an employee, income and payroll taxes are automatically withheld from your paycheck. That’s not the case for gig workers, Russell says.
“No taxes are deducted from the money you make as a business owner,” Russell says. “Meaning that you will likely owe a lot of money to the IRS when you file your returns.”
A good rule of thumb: For every dollar you earn doing gig work, save 30% to put toward income and self-employment taxes. Going forward, plan to estimate and pay those taxes quarterly to avoid a penalty from the IRS.
And if you’re thinking “I didn’t earn much. I won’t report it. How will the IRS know?” Don’t. It’ll know.
Expense tracking is your best friend
Gig work isn’t all money in the bank. You are incurring expenses, too. Keep track of those as you can likely deduct some of them and lower that tax bill we talked about a second ago.
“Keep good and honest records to take advantage of all deductions that you’re entitled to,” says Ryan Greiser, a certified financial planner in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.
Apps like Stride, Hurdlr and MileIQ automatically track your mileage and expenses, for free or a nominal fee, to help you calculate taxes. Depending on your situation, Greiser says QuickBooks might be worth exploring.
“It is a small investment to track expenses, estimate your quarterly taxes, track your mileage and pay your quarterly taxes online,” Greiser says.
You also want to investigate the nuances of what can and cannot be deducted depending on your slice of gig work, Watson says, pointing to ride-hailing services as an example.
Say you drop a passenger off and drive across town to find your next ride, he says. Can you deduct the cost of gas used in between rides? (You can.)The IRS Gig Economy Tax Center is a good place to find answers to your questions.
Insurance can be complicated
The IRS isn’t the only agency that needs to know about your new income stream. Your insurance agent needs to be clued in, too. Not disclosing your work could get you dropped from your policy in some cases. And, beyond that, your insurance agent can help you understand what aspects of your gig work are covered.
Transporting food or people? You need to know if your personal car insurance policy covers incidents while you’re on the job (It likely won’t.). Rideshare or commercial auto insurance could fill in the gaps.
While the platform you work on might cover you with a commercial policy, it only kicks in under specific circumstances. It’s important to know the details of that coverage.
Uber and Lyft provide commercial coverage for drivers, but it applies only if you have passengers in the car or are on the way to pick up a passenger after accepting a ride. DoorDash provides liability coverage only and just when food is in your car. Grubhub and Instacart don’t provide any commercial coverage for delivery drivers on their platforms.
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