This report from LexisNexis considers the gig economy from an employment perspective: what it is and how it affects lawyers and their clients.
The gig economy raises a number of interesting questions about the future direction of employment law. Advocates argue that the gig economy offers boundless innovation and empowers both workers and entrepreneurs, while critics suggest that it disenfranchises the workforce and undermines workers’ rights. Denise Cheng, affiliate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and former innovation fellow with the San Francisco mayor’s office, suggests that historical precedents and future trends both point towards a world of opportunity that will nevertheless require careful management.
The gig economy is a popular label to capture the idea of short-term and unpredictable work arrangements. It’s part of a spectrum of terms that describes peer to- peer marketplaces that enable people to monetise their skills and assets.
Despite its common usage, the gig economy is an ambiguous and perhaps non-ideal choice to
describe recent economic shifts because musicians, freelancers, and other creative professionals have long described their work in the same terms. The gig economy is laced with assumptions about worker welfare, but the term ‘gig’ is technically neutral. This casual usage obscures the nuance and gravity of the issues at hand. It is misleading and takes focus away from the real problem—precarity.