Protect Independence + Benefits
In order to put America back to work, a new approach is needed that supports self-employment while protecting independence and choice of work. This proposed approach meets this moment by allowing businesses to provide portable benefits including paid leave, occupational accident insurance and retirement savings accounts to self-employed and independent workers without running afoul of state worker classification laws:
● Participating businesses will contribute to a portable savings account — with no required match by the beneficiary — managed by a qualified benefits provider.
● Eligible self-employed workers will be able to withdraw funds from their account to fund their preferred combination of paid personal time (e.g. sick leave, family leave) and/or retirement savings in an IRA. Individuals who work more than 15 hours a week with a single business will earn on average up to three weeks of earnings for paid time off, emergencies or income support. Unused benefits funds would roll into retirement savings at the end of the year.
● Participating businesses will provide Occupational Accident Insurance covering all self employed workers for on-the-job injuries with up to $1M in medical expenses and disability / death benefits.
● For businesses that opt in to the program and provide these portable benefits, worker classification would be defined by a uniform federal test under a national standard for worker classification.
The impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. workforce will continue, even as the economy begins what is expected to be a slow climb back to where it was before the crisis. A new approach is needed.