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  • Writer's pictureVik F.

Better Benefits for Gig Workers, Utah’s Bold Move

Utah has recently taken a significant step towards reshaping the gig economy with the enactment of SB233, a new law that facilitates better access to benefits for gig workers while preserving their cherished independence. Signed into law by Governor Spencer Cox and taking effect in May 2023, this innovative legislation allows companies to contribute to flexible benefit packages without the necessity of classifying gig workers as traditional employees.

The pioneering move came to life with the partnership between Stride, a provider specializing in portable benefits, and Shipt, a grocery delivery company owned by Target. This collaboration is set to offer Shipt's shoppers and drivers a portion of their earnings back into benefits accounts, ensuring that the more they work, the more they gain not just in earnings but also in vital health and welfare provisions.

Portable benefits are particularly suited to the gig economy's fluid nature. Workers can take these benefits from one job to another, which aligns perfectly with a workforce known for its mobility and independence. Such packages often include healthcare, vision, and dental care at more affordable rates than individual plans, alongside other financial well-being tools like savings accounts and tax advice.

While the law has been met with enthusiasm from some corners, calling it a game-changer for how gig workers are treated, there are also voices of caution and skepticism. Critics question whether companies will consistently contribute to these benefit packages if not required by law and worry about potential reductions in full-time employment opportunities.

However, the potential benefits for gig workers are considerable. They stand to gain much-needed security in terms of health and financial benefits without losing the flexibility that drew them to gig work in the first place. This could make gig work more sustainable and appealing in the long run, countering one of the major drawbacks of the gig economy—the lack of benefits that come with traditional employment.

Looking to the future, the success of Utah's approach may well become a model for other states, prompting a nationwide reevaluation of how gig workers are supported. As the gig economy evolves, the need for adaptable benefit solutions grows. Utah's legislation represents a proactive approach to these changes, offering a template that could spread well beyond its borders.

This move by Utah could herald a new era where gig workers no longer have to choose between the flexibility they want and the security they need. As other states watch Utah’s experiment unfold, the hope is that similar measures will be adopted, ensuring that all workers can share in the benefits of a modern and adaptable American workforce. Utah gig worker benefits



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