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How the Gig Economy Is Changing the Working World

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Laura J. Thalacker of Hartwell Thalacker, Ltd, takes a look at the state of the gig economy in the US and how it may be shaped by new legislation.

Over the past decade in the US, the gig economy upended the dynamic between companies and the workers they rely on to provide their goods and services. The traditional US employment relationship provides various rights and guarantees to employees with respect to minimum wage, overtime pay (if applicable), worker’s compensation, unemployment insurance, employee benefits, workplace safety standards, non-discrimination, and other legal requirements. These rights and protections are all generally unavailable to gig workers. While a majority of US work arrangements still involve the traditional employer-employee relationship, gig workers (i.e., independent contractors working part-time or full-time on freelance projects, side hustles, and other temporary work) now play a significant and ever expanding role in the economy.

Though often associated with low paying service jobs such as providing rides, personal shopping, or making deliveries, the gig economy is much broader than that. It encompasses an array of blue collar and white collar contract work that may be skilled or unskilled, creative or routine, and reliant on, or independent of, technology. Pay rates and working conditions vary dramatically among gig workers.

Gig work creates opportunities and challenges for businesses and gig workers alike. On the one hand, worker concerns abound over a number of issues including low pay with no guaranteed minimum wage, long hours, a lack of workplace safety standards, economic uncertainty, and limited or no job security. Gig workers also do not have the benefit of employer-provided health insurance, retirement contributions and paid time off.

On the other hand, gig work may provide valued flexibility for workers, allowing them to be their own boss and, at least theoretically, to control when, where and for whom they perform their work. Businesses participating in the gig economy benefit from lower payroll, tax and regulatory costs, and the availability of a geographically diverse pool of workers (particularly in technology-based jobs). In times of economic uncertainty, as supply and demand fluctuate, reliance on gig workers also provides businesses with the flexibility to fill positions on an as-needed, temporary basis. And, as a recent study suggests, gig work may provide other benefits to the overall economy such as increasing entrepreneurship.

Though often associated with low paying service jobs such as providing rides, personal shopping, or making deliveries, the gig economy is much broader than that.

Broad societal factors–personal choice, technological innovation, economic realities and, as we have learned recently in the COVID-19 pandemic, even public health–affect who participates in the gig economy and on what terms. However, it is the legal and regulatory framework that provides the overarching structure and parameters for the gig economy and which, going forward, will continue to play a critical role in shaping its future in the US.

US companies relying on gig workers must navigate a complex, sometime inconsistent, patchwork of laws and regulations governing the employment relationship and independent contractor status. A gig worker can only be lawfully classified as an independent contractor (i.e., not an “employee”) if all applicable legal requirements are satisfied at the federal, state and local levels. In determining a worker’s status under employment and tax laws, different standards and tests apply with little uniformity. The determination of a worker’s status generally focuses, among several factors, on the degree of control the business exercises over the worker. What is a completely lawful arrangement in one jurisdiction may be prohibited in another. Misclassification of workers can result in costly penalties, fines and litigation.

This confusing legal framework, in which lawmakers, regulators, courts and, in some instances, even voters, have a say in worker classification and work conditions, is readily apparent in today’s environment. Seattle, following the lead of New York City, recently adopted a local law creating a minimum pay rate for drivers working for ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft.  At the federal level, in September 2020, the US Department of Labor announced a new Proposed Rule that, if adopted, would make it easier for businesses to classify workers as independent contractors under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

In contrast to the potential relaxation of federal standards for worker classification, the California Supreme Court, in its 2018 Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles decision, adopted a test which presumes employment status for all workers unless the hiring entity proves it has met the three elements of the “ABC” test for independent contractor status. In 2019, California lawmakers passed Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5), codifying the Dynamex standard, but providing some exceptions and other worker protections. Additional exceptions to employment status were adopted by the California legislature in 2020. Gig workers such as Uber and Lyft drivers were not exempted from AB 5 and the law would require a change from independent contractor to employment status for many of these workers.

To further complicate matters, in the upcoming November 2020 election, California voters will vote on a ballot measure, Proposition 22, which exempts app-based delivery and transportation (rideshare) companies from AB 5 and allows them to classify their drivers as independent contractors.  Prop. 22, which was initiated and funded by various tech companies, including Lyft, Uber and DoorDash, is opposed by a coalition of labor groups and others, and has become the most expensive ballot measure in California history. If passed by voters, in addition to allowing the classification of app-based rideshare and delivery drivers as independent contractors, Prop. 22 requires the hiring companies to provide certain specified guaranteed minimum pay, benefits and legal rights to the drivers that they normally would not be entitled to as independent contractors.

Given changing laws and regulations, the ongoing pandemic, and other societal factors, gig work will continue to evolve in the US.  It seems that, for the time being, the only real certainty with respect to the gig economy is more uncertainty.



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How Many Gaming Innovation Group Inc. (OB:GIG) Shares Did Insiders Buy, In The Last Year?

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It is not uncommon to see companies perform well in the years after insiders buy shares. Unfortunately, there are also plenty of examples of share prices declining precipitously after insiders have sold shares. So we’ll take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in Gaming Innovation Group Inc. (OB:GIG).

Do Insider Transactions Matter?

It is perfectly legal for company insiders, including board members, to buy and sell stock in a company. However, rules govern insider transactions, and certain disclosures are required.

Insider transactions are not the most important thing when it comes to long-term investing. But equally, we would consider it foolish to ignore insider transactions altogether. As Peter Lynch said, ‘insiders might sell their shares for any number of reasons, but they buy them for only one: they think the price will rise’.

View our latest analysis for Gaming Innovation Group

The Last 12 Months Of Insider Transactions At Gaming Innovation Group

The Independent Director Henrik Ekdahl made the biggest insider purchase in the last 12 months. That single transaction was for kr1.0m worth of shares at a price of kr5.19 each. Although we like to see insider buying, we note that this large purchase was at significantly below the recent price of kr11.90. While it does suggest insiders consider the stock undervalued at lower prices, this transaction doesn’t tell us much about what they think of current prices.

The chart below shows insider transactions (by companies and individuals) over the last year. By clicking on the graph below, you can see the precise details of each insider transaction!

insider-trading-volume

OB:GIG Insider Trading Volume December 2nd 2020

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

Insider Ownership

Looking at the total insider shareholdings in a company can help to inform your view of whether they are well aligned with common shareholders. A high insider ownership often makes company leadership more mindful of shareholder interests. Gaming Innovation Group insiders own about kr275m worth of shares. That equates to 26% of the company. We’ve certainly seen higher levels of insider ownership elsewhere, but these holdings are enough to suggest alignment between insiders and the other shareholders.

So What Do The Gaming Innovation Group Insider Transactions Indicate?

It doesn’t really mean much that no insider has traded Gaming Innovation Group shares in the last quarter. On a brighter note, the transactions over the last year are encouraging. Judging from their transactions, and high insider ownership, Gaming Innovation Group insiders feel good about the company’s future. So while it’s helpful to know what insiders are doing in terms of buying or selling, it’s also helpful to know the risks that a particular company is facing. While conducting our analysis, we found that Gaming Innovation Group has 1 warning sign and it would be unwise to ignore it.

Of course Gaming Innovation Group may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of high quality companies.

For the purposes of this article, insiders are those individuals who report their transactions to the relevant regulatory body. We currently account for open market transactions and private dispositions, but not derivative transactions.

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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team@simplywallst.com.

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Biffa, Covanta & GIG in financial close on Protos EfW

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Biffa is set to develop its second energy from waste (EfW) plant in the UK after achieving financial close on the Protos facility in Cheshire, it announced today (1 December). 

The facility is to be developed by Biffa, American waste management company Covanta and Macquarie’s Green Investment Group (GIG). The three companies teamed up in 2017 (see letsrecycle.com story). Covanta and GIG will each own 37.5% facility, with Biffa, the primary waste supplier to the plant, owning the remaining 25%.

An artist’s impression of the facility

Located near Ellesmere Port, the facility will have the capacity to treat 400,000 tonnes of non-recyclable household and industrial and commercial waste every year. It will be capable of generating 49 megawatts of “low carbon” electricity annually. 

Michael Topham, Biffa’s chief executive, said: “We are pleased to have reached this important milestone together with our partners and to be taking another step towards improving the UK’s waste infrastructure and creating a low-carbon and resource-efficient economy. 

“This project demonstrates our commitment to helping the UK to build the recycling and energy from waste infrastructure it needs to reduce its reliance on unnecessary export or landfill of valuable resources.” 

Construction 

The plant is expected to cost between £345 million and £355 million. Biffa’s financial commitment to the project will amount to £35 million, which it says will be invested in the next three years from existing facilities.

“This project demonstrates our commitment to helping the UK to build the recycling and energy from waste infrastructure it needs”

Michael Topham, Biffa chief executive

Construction of the facility will be led by a joint venture between Greek industrial conglomerate Mytilineos S.A and German construction company Standardkessell Baumgarte GmbH. Biffa says it expects the facility to provide “significant” economic opportunities to the local and regional area during the three-year construction phase and upon its completion. 

Covanta will supply operations and maintenance services once the plant is up and running, while Biffa will provide fuel for the facility, with more than 60% of the feedstock to be sourced from Biffa’s own operations. 

EfW infrastructure 

Until recently, Biffa had never owned any EfW infrastructure. Now, the Protos facility is to be the company’s second plant in the UK. Biffa reached financial close on its 350,000-tonnes-per year capacity Newhurst EfW facility in Leicestershire in February, a project it is working on with the same joint venture partners (see letsrecycle.com story). A video showing the progress made on the construction of the plant can be seen below. 

Covanta is involved in four EfW projects in the UK: the Newhurst and Protos plants, the 240,000-tonnes-per-year capacity Earls Gate Energy Centre in Grangemouth, Scotland, and the 545,000 tonnes-per-year capacity Rookery Pit facility in Bedfordshire. The latter facility is being developed in partnership with Veolia and GIG. 

Covanta President and CEO Michael W. Ranger said: “Today’s announcement marks our fourth energy-from-waste project in the UK with GIG and our second with Biffa, all within the last two years, and demonstrates our sustained progress in executing on our strategic plans to grow in this important market.” 

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PRO Unlimited Announces Top Market Trends in the White-collar Gig Economy

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SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 1, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — PRO Unlimited, a global innovator of contingent workforce management software and services, today announced the top jobs market trends in the skilled, white-collar contingent (i.e. non-employee, contractor, consultant) landscape in 2020 based on year-over-year company data. Utilizing the company’s largest client data sets across hundreds of enterprises and thousands of job titles, PRO examined how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted contingent labor hiring across industries, demand in job roles and hot growth markets nationwide.

“There’s a strategic shift happening where employers competing in a war for skilled specialty talent have accelerated their adoption of contingent labor – and it’s not only “gig” app and blue-collar jobs anymore. In fact, 40% of all white-collar workers fall into this category,” said Kevin Akeroyd, CEO of PRO Unlimited. “At the same time, business professionals are embracing this type of work. Not only does this new contingent economy offer increased flexibility and high-paying white-collar jobs, but employers benefit from a more diverse talent pool, greater innovation, better fiscal management and much more. By late-2021, we expect over half of skilled workers will be contingent and employers will need to successfully manage this expanding workforce as part of their overall human capital strategy.”

Utilizing PRO’s deep industry insights and historical client data, the company compared hiring patterns in the contingent industry that occurred as a result of the COVID pandemic to that of the 2008 Great Recession.

Highlights include:

COVID-19 pandemic impacts contingent hiring harder and faster than the 2008 Recession, but it rebounded much more rapidly:

  • While contingent hiring declined 56% in the first half of 2020 – a much larger and faster drop compared to the 2008 Recession – it quickly returned to pre-COVID levels by July and hiring was 9% higher year-over-year by September.
  • Contingent hiring and the economy overall is recovering faster now than it did from the 2008 Recession. Contingent hiring historically recovers quicker than the overall U.S. labor market coming out of recessions.

“The onset of the pandemic in early 2020 and the high amount of uncertainty from an economic perspective sent employers into crisis mode. Many of them announced hiring freezes and layoffs. As such, we saw a decline in contingent hires, but it quickly rebounded and increased higher than pre-pandemic levels. We expect contingent roles will replace many full-time, white-collar jobs going into next year,” added Akeroyd.

Demand increased for IT/technology, healthcare and professional services, while manufacturing and industrial positions have dropped significantly

  • The hottest industries for contingent hiring in 2020 were IT/technology, healthcare and professional services. Contingent labor hiring in healthcare was least impacted by COVID.
  • Jobs in IT/technology, healthcare and professional services have increased significantly in demand from 2019 to 2020, while industrial, manufacturing and administrative positions have declined. For example:
    • Hiring of IT analysts, who provide tech support within companies, is up 43%, as is the use of data engineers (31%), IT/tech project managers (23%), marketing managers (18%), clinical pharmacists (18%) and designers (9%).
    • Jobs on the decline include administrative assistants at 51%, assembly specialists at 69%, and manufacturing associates at 32%.

White-collar gig workers look for the highest monetary bidder in their job searches, while culture and company values are less of a priority

  • According to a client survey commissioned by PRO among contractors, 40% of respondents say monetary compensation is by far the most valued factor in their job search.
  • Less valued factors include the opportunity to convert to a full-time employee (19%), unique project opportunities or skill-building (14%), and company values/culture (8%).

U.S. cities like Nashville, Charlotte and Indianapolis are emerging as hot growth markets for jobs — in fact, hiring is stronger than it was pre-COVID

  • Salt Lake City, Denver, Austin and Hartford were all cities that were already “anointed” as metros that were poised for growth pre-pandemic. While these cities have not returned to pre-COVID hiring levels, their rate of hiring is remaining steady and showing signs of improvement. Employers are not abandoning hiring from these metros.
  • Nashville, Charlotte and Indianapolis have emerged as strong hiring alternatives as their hiring levels are even stronger now than they were pre-pandemic.
  • In the West, hiring has already returned to higher than pre-pandemic levels, but lower year-over-year.

For more information and to download the PRO Unlimited Labor Market Report, click here.

About PRO Unlimited

PRO Unlimited, through its purely vendor-neutral Managed Services Provider (MSP) and Vendor Management System (VMS) solutions, helps organizations around the world address the costs, risks and quality issues associated with managing a contingent workforce. A pioneer and innovator in the VMS and MSP space, PRO offers solutions for the procurement and management of contingent labor, 1099/co-employment risk management, and third-party payroll. http://www.prounlimited.com

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