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Steady Income Passport Enables Gig Workers to More Easily Qualify for Social Services

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Steady’s app, already used by more than 3 million Americans, launches passport to help 1099 workers and mixed-earners verify income and submit claims for government benefits

ATLANTA, Sept. 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Steady, an app used by three million hourly and 1099 workers to better understand their earning trends and potential, today announced the launch of a new Income Passport that will enable workers to seamlessly prove eligibility for government benefits. Data from Steady already provides government officials with a real-time understanding of wage data for the one-third of Americans who are contingent workers.

(PRNewsfoto/Steady)

(PRNewsfoto/Steady)

“Growing up, I experienced firsthand the challenges that some families face as they work to make ends meet,” said NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal and Co-Founder of Steady, who now serves as an advisor to the company. “This is about giving people the tools they need to earn a more stable income for themselves and their families.”

Mixed-earners and 1099 workers, who typically collect income from multiple sources, often face complex paperwork requirements and lengthy processing times to prove eligibility of safety net benefits like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid & Child’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Paid Family Medical Leave (PFML). That paperwork-intensive, manual process puts a burden on workers who often need benefits most, which can result in under-funding or ineligibility altogether. Manual verification processes also create significant administrative costs for states, and can increase the risk of benefits fraud.

“The best way to build tools that support workers is to include those workers in the development process,” said Angela Vogel of the Philadelphia Drivers Union, which collaborated closely with Steady on the development of the income passport. “By listening to the insights, perspectives, and recommendations of workers, Steady has created a tool that will help millions of people take control of their own data and access critical benefits to support themselves and their families.”

“The past year has revealed the profound misalignment between the realities of the labor market, and outdated infrastructure that the government uses to verify benefits eligibility,” said Adrian Haro of the nonprofit The Workers Lab, which provided input and feedback to inform the development of the income passport. “By putting data in the hands of workers, we can modernize the process to boost payment accuracy and better serve a growing and critical segment of the economy.”

To automate the onerous task of manually collecting and reviewing paperwork, Steady’s Income Passport allows workers to share real-time earnings with government agencies, and even submit benefit claims, directly from their smartphone. By streamlining the process of income verification, the passport will enable 1099 workers and mixed-earners to more easily qualify for social services, as well as other financial products like auto loans.

“Empowering workers and reducing the burden on the government are two sides of the same coin. We’re trying to flip the entire paradigm for determining benefits eligibility by putting actionable, accurate data directly into the hands of workers,” said Adam Roseman, CEO and Founder of Steady. “The data that we unlock in the process will provide an unprecedented view into a massive and poorly understood segment of the American workforce. We know that our automated data and insights can help policymakers on both sides of the aisle administer and design more targeted, efficient and effective programs.”

To access Income Passport, individuals can go to https://passport.steadyapp.com, and follow the prompts to connect gig employers and bank accounts.

About Steady

Steady is the leading income intelligence platform for America’s hourly and 1099 workers. We remove the barriers to earn by harnessing AI and income insights from over 3 million workers. Our income intelligence supports government leaders who design programs that are informed by earning trends and empowers workers. Steady’s mobile app, launched in 2017, helps American 1099 and mixed earners increase their incomes by an average of $5,500 per year. For more information, please visit https://steadyapp.com.

About The Workers Lab

At The Workers Lab, our purpose is to give new ideas about increasing worker power a chance to succeed and flourish, and new ideas about workers need a chance now perhaps more than ever before. Share your ideas with us. Subscribe and be one of the first to learn about our 2022 application cycle.

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Workers

Need for greater clarity in Labour Codes to accommodate gig workers: Industry

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While the pandemic and onset of technology has created new opportunities of employment such as work from home, part time employment, contract workers, and gig workers, it has also provided opportunities to women and students to reap the benefits of the digital wave. However, as we find new job opportunities on the rise, the traditional avenues have been severely affected by the pandemic. In this regard, it will be critical to have a coherent and well thought out Labour Code.

The new Labour Codes have a unique opportunity to foster recovery. It is imperative to find balance and provide accommodative support to the new forms of employment. The labour codes need to recognize small contract labourers and businesses and make provisions for them.

Lack of uniformity and varied regulations at the state level have had an impact on other aspects of employment as well. These variations are disruptive to businesses with operations across various states and may result in workload disparity and deterioration in quality of the production. The rules skirt over the realities of the digital economy and seek to transpose legacy regulation and limitation on growth. In line with this, Mr. Kazim Rizvi, Founding Director, The Dialogue, was of the opinion that, “Businesses, especially small organisations and startups, are still coming out of the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. The labour laws, if implemented in the current form, will not only increase the pressure and compliance burden on the companies but also affect their financial output. The role of gig workers is vital in this new economy, and provisions must be made towards giving them adequate compensation and recognition.”

The Panelists highlighted some key focus areas such as flexibility in work hours, need for clarity in the definition of core activity, social security for the gig workers and taking into account emerging job models that need consideration to help guide the discourse towards an enabling framework. Centre, state and other stakeholders have to work together in order to ensure that maximum benefits are accrued to the gig workers while being mindful that businesses are not overburdened. Given the subject matter these codes regulate, there is a constant need of dialogue among the stakeholders to improve the legislation while securing the workforce.

Speaking on this, Mr. Ram Rastogi, Digital Payments Strategist, stressed that, “The e-commerce platforms have revenue-sharing arrangements with the people on their platforms. Thus, there needs to be a differentiation for people working full-time and people working in flexible models. Labour codes shouldn’t deter industries that are performing well and consider a performance-based pay model.”

He further stated, “Gig workers do the most hard work and make only a small fraction of what permanent workers make. Policymakers should think about them before coming out with the codes and should encourage state governments to work on policies for them.”

Suchita Dutta, Executive Director, India Staffing Federation, “Formal Contract work and employment is growing in India. It is helping people pick up new skills and become more industry relevant. While Formal contract labour is well protected for social security and all applicable labour laws including wages, the Gig workers still find the similar format of protection. To realise the full potential of the labour codes, there needs to be continuous dialogue across the sectors to tap the maximum impact for the benefit of gig workers.”

Avik Biswas, Partner, Indus Law, “The gig economy workers, for the first time, has been statutorily recognized in India. While the objective of the Codes vis-à-vis the gig economy can be predicted given the way several international regulations on this subject has been structured, we are however still at a stage where a lot more clarity is required on the operative parts of the regulations and how they would substantively affect both companies and workers alike. The obvious way forward appears to be the necessity of a constant dialogue and consultation between the government, employers and other relevant stakeholders.”

There is a need for the government to acknowledge the various types of workforces across different sectors. The one-size-fits-all approach may not work since the codes haven’t taken into account rising digital industries such as e-commerce. Additionally, this code might be exclusionary in nature to the small businesses and gig workers in the country especially in states like Maharashtra where people receive work on contractual basis. Hence, it is essential to examine the grey areas in the codes and rework the same.

Published on: Wednesday, September 22, 2021, 08:26 PM IST

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Singapore looks into more protection for gig workers

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An advisory committee expects to provide recommendations that require legislative change by the second half of next year.

A newly formed committee in Singapore will be looking into more protection for gig workers, in the areas of retirement and housing adequacy, work injury financial protection and bargaining power.

The advisory committee expects to be done with the work by the second half of 2022, with a possible end goal of putting out recommendations that require legislative change, said Senior Minister of State for Manpower Koh Poh Koon. 

“It could well be a set of tripartite guidelines, for example, to guide either workers or platform operators on what is the expected behaviour… It may well be other things that require legislative changes to bring into effect; some of the measures that need to be secured and guarded by law to give adequate legal protection,” he said, reports the Business Times. 

“Or it could well be something that we leave to the union, for example, to have the flexibility to negotiate with the platform operators, because the situation can evolve; platform business models can change as well, so we do not want everything to be a one-size-fits-all.”

READ: Singapore urges SMEs to adapt, build workforce for post-pandemic

The committee is focused on three groups of gig workers: delivery workers, private-hire car drivers and taxi drivers. It comprises industry experts, academics and government representatives, and is headed by Goh Swee Chen, chairperson of the Institute for Human Resource Professionals.

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Help gig workers get social security benefits: Plea in SC | India News

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NEW DELHI: A petition has been filed seeking intervention of the Supreme Court in helping secure social security benefits for gig workers engaged by Uber, Ola Cabs, Swiggy, Zomato and other app based service providers.
The petition, jointly filed by a registered union and a federation of trade unions representing app-based transport and delivery workers, and two individual drivers who have worked with Ola Cabs and Uber, alleged that denial of social security like pension and health insurance to them is violation of their right to life and right against forced labour. “The present petition is being filed raising questions of the great public and constitutional importance namely whether the ‘Right to Social Security’ is a guaranteed fundamental right for all working people- whether employed in the formal or informal sectors,” the petition, settled by senior advocate Indira Jaising, said.
“It is the case of the Petitioners herein who are known as gig workers and platform workers that they are in an employment relationship with the aggregators and hence covered by the definition of ‘workman’ within the meaning of all the applicable social security legislations including: The Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923; The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947; The Employee’s State Insurance Act, 1948; Employee’s Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952; The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961; The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 and ‘Unorganised Workers’ Social Welfare Security Act, 2008’,” it said.
The petition seeking SC’s direction to Centre said the mere fact that their employers call themselves “aggregators” and enter into so-called “partnership agreements” does not take away from the fact that there exists a relationship of employer and employee between them “At present these workers are not being provided the benefit of social security under any of the labour legislations. This defeats the very purpose of the social- welfare legislations, which seek to ensure social security-a facet the right to work and livelihood on decent conditions of work under Article 21 of the Constitution,” it said.
“These legislations have been enacted pursuant to the Directive Principles of State Policy with a view to ensuring basic human dignity to the workers. The inaction on part of the State in ensuring social security to the “gig workers” and “platform workers” notwithstanding the existence of the said laws, is the clearest violation of Article 21 apart from a violation of Article 14 and Article 23 of the Constitution.



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