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Gig workers have changed Florida’s workforce. The coronavirus response is starting to reflect that.



After 19 years as a self-employed corporate communications consultant, Bruce Benidt knew the risks of being his own boss. No paid vacations, no sick leave, and, of course, no weekly unemployment benefits when work dried up.

Then the coronavirus came along. For the first time, Congress cleared the way for independent contractors and self-employed workers to apply for federal unemployment assistance. For Benidt, 69, who saw all but one client cancel upcoming jobs, the expansion arrived just in time.

“I would have never applied for unemployment had not the federal bill included gig workers, sole proprietors, independent contractors, that kind of jazz,” he said. “I think this is a wake-up call about the structure of the economy.”

Bruce Benidt [Bruce Benidt]

In just two weeks last month, nearly 10 million laid-off Americans, an estimated 6 percent of the nation’s labor force, applied for unemployment benefits as their workplaces shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Florida claims for those two weeks totaled 301,312.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Labor will release statistics on how many more applied last week, with estimates of the next wave ranging up to 7 million new claims.

Related: Coronavirus unemployment crisis deepens in Florida and U.S.

“The numbers are probably going to get worse before they get better,” said Bradley Kamp, an associate professor and chairman of the economics department at the University of South Florida. During the Great Recession a decade ago, Florida’s unemployment rate peaked at 11.3 percent with more than a million people unemployed. “We’re still a long way from that, but we’re about to get there is my guess, and we’ll probably even surpass that depending on how long we’re shut down.”

Like the two previous weeks, that tsunami of claims will include a sizable — but as-yet uncalculated — number of self-employed workers and independent contractors. Categories for those two groups can have multiple definitions, but generally independent contractors are counted among the self-employed. On Sunday, the U.S. Department of Labor expanded the self-employed category specifically to include gig economy workers like ride-share drivers.

Statewide, 1.16 million people are self-employed, out of a labor force of about 10 million, according to the U.S. Census American Community Survey results for 2018, the most current available year. The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area has almost 158,000 self-employed people, or about 10 percent of the area’s labor force.

In a separate report from 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated there were 10.6 million independent contractors in the country, or about 6.7 percent of the labor force. The report did not break the numbers out by state, but using the same percentage as the country, Florida would have about 670,000 independent contractors, about 100,000 in the Tampa Bay area.

New coronavirus relief programs include $600 a week in federal unemployment insurance, but to get it, self-employed workers have to use the state system to apply. This week, Florida officials said they hadn’t set up a process to handle claims from self-employed workers and didn’t say when they would.

Related: Floridians could wait for weeks for unemployment checks, officials say

Florida’s malfunctioning claims website has caused an under-count of the number of people out of work.

Benidt, who lives in Port Richey, is one of them, having spent hours trying to file a claim on the state’s application website while his wife made more than 100 calls to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, all without success.

“I am spitting mad at (Florida Gov. Ron) DeSantis and (former Gov. Rick) Scott for ignoring three audits on this as they hew to their other social agendas,” he said. “It’s truly shocking. They’re not doing the job. They’re not governing.”

Related: Ron DeSantis was warned about Florida’s broken unemployment website last year, audit shows

Jesse Latzman, 42, is an independent contractor who recycles precious metals from dental offices. His earnings come entirely from commissions, and he pays for his own medical insurance.

Many dentists closed their offices, which quickly put Latzman on the employment sidelines. He’s okay financially at the moment, but in a month or two he said he’ll “have to start sweating a few things.”

Given the scope of the crisis he thought it made sense for the federal government to extend benefits to independent contractors and self employed workers. But he knows how poorly Florida’s online application system worked during good times.

“Now they are scrambling to fix something that was already broken,” said Latzman, who lives north of Orlando. “The independent contractors, all the Uber drivers, all the people that work for themselves, are going to flood the system all over again.”

Rick Jorza works as a self-employed residential contractor, fixing people’s broken homes. He started his business in 2003. Even during the Great Recession he had enough work, much of it in the Tampa Bay area. Homeowners “always need stuff done,” he said.

But this time is different. No one wants contractors traipsing through their homes, coronavirus potentially in tow. He didn’t want to get sick, either.

“It was like a light switch,” said Jorza, 56. “One day you’re busy, the next there’s no more work.”

He has spent a week trying to apply for benefits, his frustration building with each failed attempt. He scoffed at how the state had spent $77 million on such a faulty online benefits system.

“I can’t believe our state is that far behind technology-wise,” he said. “It’s a disgrace.”

To save money, Jorza moved back in with his ex-wife in Deltona. They had remained friends, so it’s not as awkward as it sounds. He also gets more time with his 20-year-old son.

“I’m getting by, but I can’t go six months or a year without work,” he said. “Something’s got to give.”

• • •

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Australia – Deliveroo taken to court in gig economy unfair dismissal case (Australian Financial Review)




21 October 2020

Australia’s Transport Workers Union kicked off its case against the human cloud food courier Deliveroo yesterday with its claim that one of its riders, whose employment was terminated in April during the pandemic, was not an independent contractor but a casual and so had unfair dismissal protection, reports Australian Financial Review. The case could have a major impact on the gig economy in Australia.  The union said Franco was terminated for completing his deliveries too slowly and the union also argued the termination was a “paradigm case of procedural unfairness” as even on Deliveroo’s own evidence it never had benchmarks for delivery times. The case is being judged by Fair Work Commissioner Ian Cambridge, who previously found a rider at gig company Foodora was not carrying out his own business but was part of the business as an employee. Under a system Deliveroo started in January 2018 but scrapped in December 2019, riders had to log in and book periods of time in particular areas where they could accept work. Once the rider booked in a period they could not change their suburb or hours. However, they could cancel a session with more than 24 hours’ notice. Transport Workers Union legal counsel Philip Boncardo argued that this was a “self-serving, self-selective system akin to a shift system”, adding that ‘That is the essence of casual employment’.

Deliveroo argued that even casuals are not allowed to do other work during shifts and this was what Franco did, fielding orders from Doordash and UberEats at the same time as Deliveroo. However, Franco gave evidence that cancelling a shift under the old system without 24 hours’ notice would impact on his “statistics” and argued that he wore a Deliveroo uniform and used a Deliveroo insulated bag while working, presenting him as part of the business.

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New Report Shows U.S. Gig Workers Hit Hard by COVID-19 with Nearly 3 out of 5 Now Earning Less than $1,000 per Month | 2020-10-22 | Press Releases




REDWOOD CITY, Calif. , Oct. 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Flourish , a global venture capital firm focused on early-stage fintech investments that enhance financial health, today unveiled The Digital Hustle: Gig Worker Financial Lives Under Pressure , United States Spotlight . The report is based on surveys of 700 gig workers across five cities: Atlanta , Chicago , New York , Philadelphia , and San Francisco.

On October 22, 2020, Flourish Ventures unveiled "The Digital Hustle: Gig Worker Financial Lives Under Pressure, United States Spotlight." The report is based on surveys of 700 gig workers across five cities: Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.

The United States Spotlight is fifth in a series of Flourish’s year-long global study of more than 3,000 gig workers from Brazil , India , Indonesia , South Africa and the U.S., all countries with some of the largest and fastest-growing gig economies. In August 2020 , Flourish partnered with digital worker platform company Steady to better understand how U.S. gig workers’ financial lives were impacted and their hopes and concerns for the future.

Gig workers in the U.S., employed in service roles, such as e-hailing and delivery, were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, with 68% reporting a decline in total income. Nearly 3 out of 5 workers earned less than $1,000 per month, compared to 1 in 5 before the lockdown. A majority of U.S. respondents – 89% – were concerned about COVID-19, and at the time of the survey, respondents were most worried about the impact to their livelihoods, although health risks were also a meaningful concern.

“With the onset of COVID-19 and the accompanying economic fallout, our research found that the majority of workers in the digital gig economy are living on the edge, piecing together temporary and inconsistent work and struggling to make ends meet,” explained Emmalyn Shaw , managing partner at Flourish. “The pandemic and ensuing economic dislocation significantly impacted this population and highlighted their limited financial resilience.”

Steady CEO Adam Roseman said, “As COVID-19 continues to redefine nearly every aspect of daily life, earning a stable income is much harder to achieve for tens of millions of hourly and gig workers. Consistent and coordinated government and private-sector support will be needed.”

Black and Latinx Communities Disproportionately Impacted

Fifty-nine percent of respondents reported that if they lost their main source of income, they could not cover household expenses for a month without borrowing money. Black and Latinx communities were disproportionately impacted by the crisis, evidenced by respondents’ high levels of concern and the heavier burden of supporting additional financial dependents. Black workers were hit the hardest financially, with 61% now earning less than $1,000 per month.

Worker Sentiment and Financial Impact Vary by City

The United States Spotlight reveals that worker sentiment and financial impact varied meaningfully by city, depending on the regional course of the pandemic . In Atlanta , Chicago , and Philadelphia , more than half of the workers reported a large fall in income, while San Francisco workers, who also reported a large income decline, indicated a somewhat more positive outlook. In New York , workers reported less economic hardship and lower levels of concern.

Yet, U.S. gig workers showed signs of grit and resilience as they coped with the economic impact of the crisis:

  • 63% used savings and 55% borrowed money, combining loans from multiple sources, with a heavy reliance on friends and family.
  • 39% found new or additional work, with over a third of new work coming from online or app-based platforms.
  • Of the 62% who reduced consumption, half cut back on food.

Some Relief with Financial Aid

In the U.S., government relief payments through the CARES Act were a lifeline for many.

  • 77% of respondents received financial aid through the CARES Act, and while still struggling, these recipients had stronger financial resilience, less decline in quality of life, and a greater sense of hope.
  • More than half of respondents applied for unemployment benefits since the crisis began, although most struggled to navigate the application process. For most, finding work with better pay is their top financial goal.

To read the full United States Spotlight report, visit:

“The important role that gig workers play in our society cannot be overemphasized,” said Shaw. “As the world continues to grapple with the challenges of the current crisis, financial institutions, fintechs, and policymakers have an opportunity to learn from our most vulnerable workers and identify financial services that will help them survive this crisis and thrive in the future.”

About Flourish

Flourish is a global venture capital firm investing in entrepreneurs whose innovations advance financial health and prosperity for individuals and small businesses. Our global fintech portfolio includes more than 60 high-growth companies offering a range of leading-edge financial services including, in the U.S., challenger bank Chime, gig worker platform Steady, next-gen home insurance company Kin, and FreshEBT, an app for SNAP recipients, among many others. We partner with industry thought leaders in research, policy, and regulation to better understand the underserved and help foster a fair and more inclusive economy. Visit us at or join our community through Twitter , LinkedIn or Facebook .

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SOURCE Flourish Ventures

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Gig Economy And Sharing Economy Market 2020 | COVID -19 Impact Research Report With Top Key Players




The Global Gig Economy And Sharing Economy Market report mainly studies the size, recent trends and development status of the Gig Economy And Sharing Economy market, as well as investment opportunities, government policy, market dynamics (drivers, restraints, opportunities), supply chain and competitive landscape. Technological innovation and advancement will further optimize the performance of the product, making it more widely used in downstream applications. Moreover, Porter’s Five Forces Analysis (potential entrants, suppliers, substitutes, buyers, industry competitors) provides crucial information for knowing the Gig Economy And Sharing Economy market. The Gig Economy And Sharing Economy research report study the market size, Gig Economy And Sharing Economy industry share, key drivers for growth, major segments, and CAGR. Then it analyzed the world’s main region market conditions, including the product price, profit, capacity, production, supply, demand and market growth rate and forecast etc.

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Key players in the global Gig Economy and Sharing Economy market are:
Door Dash
Task Rabbit

On the basis of types, the Gig Economy and Sharing Economy market from 2015 to 2026 is primarily split into:
Gig Economy
Sharing Economy

On the basis of applications, the Gig Economy and Sharing Economy market from 2015 to 2026 covers:
Shared private car
Shared private residence
Independent contractor

The report further covers the significant performance of robust Gig Economy And Sharing Economy companies including their research activities, Product innovations, developments, technology adoptions, and brand promotions. The activities are performed in order to captivate the maximum numbers of potential buyers and offer better fit products in the market. Their strategic acquisitions, mergers, ventures, and partnerships are also examined in the report to help clients build their own strategies for their Gig Economy And Sharing Economy businesses.

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Gig Economy And Sharing Economy Market: Regional analysis includes:

  • Asia-Pacific (Vietnam, China, Malaysia, Japan, Philippines, Korea, Thailand, India, Indonesia, and Australia)
  • Europe (Turkey, Germany, Russia UK, Italy, France, etc.)
  • North America (the United States, Mexico, and Canada.)
  • South America (Brazil etc.)
  • The Middle East and Africa (GCC Countries and Egypt.)

Major Points Covered in TOC:

  • Overview: Along with a broad overview of the global Gig Economy And Sharing Economy Market, this section gives an overview of the report to give an idea about the nature and contents of the research study.
  • Analysis on Strategies of Leading Players: Market players can use this analysis to gain competitive advantage over their competitors in the Gig Economy And Sharing Economy Market.
  • Study on Key Market Trends: This section of the report offers deeper analysis of latest and future trends of the market.
  • Market Forecasts: Buyers of the report will have access to accurate and validated estimates of the total market size in terms of value and volume. The report also provides consumption, production, sales, and other forecasts for the Gig Economy And Sharing Economy Market.
  • Regional Growth Analysis: All major regions and countries have been covered Gig Economy And Sharing Economy Market report. The regional analysis will help market players to tap into unexplored regional markets, prepare specific strategies for target regions, and compare the growth of all regional markets.
  • Segment Analysis: The report provides accurate and reliable forecasts of the market share of important segments of the Gig Economy And Sharing Economy Market. Market participants can use this analysis to make strategic investments in key growth pockets of the Gig Economy And Sharing Economy Market.

Key Questions Answered in the Report Include:

  • What will the market size and the growth rate be in 2025?
  • What are the key factors driving the global Gig Economy And Sharing Economy Market?
  • What are the key market trends impacting the growth of the global Gig Economy And Sharing Economy Market?
  • What are the challenges to market growth?
  • Who are the key vendors in the global Gig Economy And Sharing Economy Market?
  • What are the market opportunities and threats faced by the vendors in the global Gig Economy And Sharing Economy Market?
  • Trending factors influencing the market shares of the Americas, APAC, Europe, and MEA.
  • What are the key outcomes of the five forces analysis of the global Gig Economy And Sharing Economy Market?

A free report data (as a form of Excel Datasheet) will also be provided upon request along with a new purchase.

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Note: In order to provide more accurate market forecast, all our reports will be updated before delivery by considering the impact of COVID-19.

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