The rise of online platform work through companies such as Uber, Care.com, and TaskRabbit has increased the visibility of alternative work arrangements. This has sparked interest among researchers, policymakers, and program administrators in the “gig economy” and its implications for labor markets, worker protections, and access to benefits. For child support programs, the emergence of the gig economy presents a new dimension to the longstanding challenge of establishing and enforcing child support orders for noncustodial parents working outside traditional salaried employment—in jobs that are often temporary, part-time, and contingent. Nontraditional work arrangements provide individuals with opportunities to generate income with greater flexibility to choose work hours and tasks. However, they often do not provide the same level of economic security as traditional arrangements. Independent workers are less likely to be covered by labor and employment laws, such as a minimum wage, overtime compensation, and unemployment compensation. Moreover, while nontraditional work arrangements may allow workers additional avenues to earn income, certain employee-based benefits and subsidies such as health insurance, retirement benefits, and life insurance are typically not as available as through traditional work arrangements. In recent years, the growth of the gig economy, where workers’ participation is more transitory than in traditional independent contract work, has contributed to an increase in nontraditional work. (Excerpt from author introduction)
Independent contractors and nontraditional workers: Implications for the child support program
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