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Prof. Anthony Gill in AIER, "A Sick (Pay) Policy that Redefines Work"

Submitted by Stephen Dunne on May 26, 2023 - 9:48am

Prof. Anthony Gill questions whether a new law in Seattle which requires gig workers be given sick pay is the right thing to do for consumers and the workers themselves.

"Should drivers for app-based delivery services such as DoorDash and UberEats receive sick pay? Will such a policy raise prices and decrease demand? And, perhaps less obviously but more importantly, does mandating sick pay for such individuals change the way we define work and economic exchange? 

For all intents and purposes, app-based delivery drivers are contract or piece-work employees just like my gardener, albeit with less regular customers. They perform services for different people according to when a task is requested. This is the nature of the platform-based sharing economy – unused resources (including labor) are connected with people who want to use those resources on a short-term basis....But requiring mandatory sick pay, as Seattle City Council’s new ordinance does, transforms these jobs into something resembling hourly pay.

The arrival of the app-based network companies was a huge boon to our economy’s efficiency. It allowed unused resources to find employment in ways that we had never imagined. Government interference in the way we operate new economies undermines innovation, entrepreneurship, and productivity. And all of this can be done by a simple stroke of a bureaucratic pen that redefines the nature of work. The definition of what constitutes exchange is best left to the individuals who are directly involved in those transactions."

Please link here for the full article.