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Gig workers show strong preference for faster payments

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Four out of five gig workers want faster payments, and most have less than $500 in savings, according to a study by Branch and Marqeta.

The report examines how quickly gig workers want to get paid and the key drivers behind the demand. About 39% want to get paid at the end of a job or when a task is completed. An additional 10% want on-demand pay to get their money whenever they desire, and 33% want to get paid out at the end of each day worked. Only 18% preferred to be paid weekly.

“A lot of gig workers want to get paid at the end of the job, such as when a meal is delivered or rideshare is completed,” said Vidya Peters. “The big driver behind the demand is that about a third [31%] of gig workers have no savings. So for these people, it’s about getting the money quickly and getting it on a debit card so it can be spent immediately for items such as gas for the car or food for the family.”

The study, which surveyed over 1,000 gig workers, found that 78% had saved less than $500. Of that number, 31% of gig workers had no emergency savings and another 29% had saved between $1 and $149. Only 22% of gig workers had saved $500 or more.

About 85% of respondents had planned or already had picked up more gig work due to the pandemic. However, since the majority of gig workers regularly used only one or two platforms, such as Uber and DoorDash, the competition for gig workers has become fierce.

“Cash flow is a concern, which is why they are turning to gig work,” said Atif Siddiqi, founder and CEO of Branch. “Ultimately, the gig platforms are having to compete against each other to attract and retain their gig workforces. What they’re finding is that how they pay makes a difference and two things stand out — faster payments and ready access to funds through a debit card.”

The study also found 87% of gig workers were likely to choose one gig platform over another if it could pay them instantly without fees. Siddiqi noted that consumer expectation is a major force in workers wanting to get paid more quickly; it’s part of their job to be quick and efficient, so they want the same when it comes to collecting their paychecks.

“It’s expected that just over half of U.S. workers will be part of the gig economy by 2023,” Siddiqi said. “Gig work provides the flexibility, cash flow and income security that many people want.”

The top three factors gig workers look for in a gig platform before deciding to join and accept work assignments are higher wages, payouts and tips (39%); faster payouts/access to earnings (26%); and scheduling flexibility or more control over when they work (19%).

“The most surprising thing to me in the study was this idea of how much faster pay resonated with these workers,” said Peters. “Faster pay was equated with greater peace of mind. Given that many of them have limited savings and are struggling to make ends meet, it makes sense that getting paid more quickly is putting them more at ease.”



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Uber Eats, Peers Given Deadline to Abandon Gig-Worker Model in Spain

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By Adam Clark

Uber Technologies Inc. and other operators of food-delivery platforms in Spain have three months to change their current gig-labor models, the Spanish government said on Tuesday.

Ministers approved a law to regulate the employment conditions of delivery workers who work via digital platforms such as Uber Eats or Amazon.com Inc.-backed Deliveroo PLC. The approval begins a countdown for companies to convert their workers from independent contractors into employees by mid-August.

The new regulations could be an important precedent as the European Union is consulting on rules on platform work across the bloc this year. Uber, Deliveroo and local delivery startup Glovoapp23 SL had campaigned for a deal which would avoid reclassification of workers, similar to arrangements reached in France, arguing the majority of couriers would prefer to be self-employed.

“This regulation will directly hurt thousands of couriers who use food delivery apps for much-needed flexible earnings opportunities and made it clear they do not want to be classified as employees. It will also impact Spanish restaurants that increasingly rely on delivery solutions to make ends meet,” a spokesperson for Uber said.

The companies will now have to consider how to implement the changes to their business models. Couriers’ groups said the most likely solution will be for the companies to subcontract workers via fleet-management companies.

The subcontracting model is already used by major European food-delivery platform Just Eat Takeaway.com NV but would likely result in relatively higher costs for Uber and Deliveroo, which have a greater proportion of restaurant deals where they handle the logistics of delivery. Uber said last month that it would use fleet-management companies for the planned expansion of its Uber Eats service to Germany.

“We want to be a long-term partner to Spain and are exploring different options to adapt our delivery business to the new regulation,” the spokesperson for Uber said.

Write to Adam Clark at adam.clark@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

05-11-21 0846ET

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Local chef creates app to connect gig workers with hospitality jobs

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Connecting gig workers to hospitality jobs in Charleston is now easier than ever thanks to the app, Gigpro. It was created by a local chef, Ben Ellsworth, along with three others. The app lets anyone apply for and book jobs for just a single night at a time. It’s a fast and easy way to fill open shifts without committing to full employment with a business.

The hospitality industry is facing a detrimental shortage of workers with both back-of-house staff like line cooks and dishwashers as well as front-of-house staff like servers and bartenders.

The idea came to Ben Ellsworth, who’s been a chef in Charleston since 1998, as he stared at a pile of dishes in the Royal American kitchen during a shift when the dishwasher called out. He says the lightbulb switched on when he checked his cell phone.

“I got a notification on my phone that someone had booked my Airbnb and I said out loud ‘I wish he had booked to wash these dishes.’,” said Ellsworth.

That’s when Gigpro was born.

Nearly 150 Charleston businesses and over 2,000 workers have joined the platform since its initial release in late 2019. In the first month of beta testing, 36 gigs were booked and in the second month, 86 gigs were booked.

Now Ellsworth says around 200 gigs are posted to the platform each week.

There are only a few simple steps to set up Gigpro and begin picking up shifts. Download the free app, create a profile with a resume, fill out insurance information and add a payment method. A restaurant will post a shift with information like date, hours, and pay, then workers on the app can scroll through and apply for a job. If the employer finds a good fit for the night, the job will be booked. After a worker completes the job, payment is sent through the app two to three days later.

“Everybody that’s on the platform gets covered with occupational accident insurance,” explained Ellsworth. “Which takes the liability off the business and keeps the pro safe.”

He says the occupational accident insurance is about $0.38 per hour. Many gigs pay $15 to $30 an hour.

It’s a big help for employers working to fill shifts when employees call out or when staff is short.

Wild Dunes Resort on the Isle of Palms has been working with Gigpro for just over a year and recently has been booking workers most weekends.

“It’s a great tool to have in our toolkit,” said Manny Montes, the assistant director of HR at Wild Dunes Resort.

In some cases, at Wild Dunes and other businesses, workers have been asked to stick around.

“There’s actually two people that we connected with originally on the app that we’ve ended up offering positions to stay on board with us as actual employees,” said Montes.

Gigpro is a way to get some fast cash and help out businesses that are in dire need of staff.

“I would say right now that our biggest mission is to try and get more money in the pockets of the workforce in this industry. I’ve heard from multiple businesses that we’re working with that we’re kind for the only thing that’s moving the needle and getting help in the door,” said Ellsworth.

Gigpro is officially expanding to Nashville, TN and Charlotte, NC and Ellsworth hopes to add more “food eccentric cities” to the list soon.

For more about Gigpro, click here.

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Rep. McHenry introduces Gig Worker Equity Compensation Act

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U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) introduced legislation that would include the gig workforce in the category of workers who can benefit from equity compensation.

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The Gig Worker Equity Compensation Act (H.R. 2990) would help gig workers share in the economic resurgence while preserving their flexibility and independence.

“How people choose to work is changing. Our technology-driven economy is embracing this shift, Washington needs to keep up,” McHenry, the Republican leader on the House Financial Services Committee, said. “By giving these non-traditional workers access to equity compensation—just like traditional employees—we can ensure they benefit from the growth of the companies they are making successful. While Democrats attempt to stifle this growing sector of the workforce, my bill ensures they retain the flexibility they need while giving them the opportunity to grow wealth. This is a win for our capital markets, job creators, and gig workers.”

McHenry points out that about a quarter of the U.S. workforce participates in the gig economy or non-traditional work — whether as a rideshare driver, food delivery courier, or sharing their property through a platform like Airbnb. Further, about 10 percent of workers rely on alternative work arrangements for their primary source of income. These workers do not want to be bound by constraints like an office, set hours, or a traditional employer-employee relationship. This bill seeks to provide additional flexibility to support these workers.

In November 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted to propose rules to provide equity compensation options for gig workers. McHenry welcomed this initiative and is committed to working with the SEC to implement his broader proposal.

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