The gig economy (or the 1099 Economy) has been with us and in full swing for nearly a decade now, and these new ways of working really aren’t that new any longer. Yet, governments around the world are still struggling with how to regulate, manage, and support these new directions. How can the safety net for freelancers be improved? How can governments effectively tax and regulate these new business forms and new structures, such as gig economy platforms (e.g. Uber, Task Rabbit)? How can we ensure long-term success and security for independent workers in areas like professional development, pensions, and the like?
All of these questions are still being debated and new ideas and solutions are being developed around the world. To get a sense of the current state of play, the Paris-based Organization Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has just published an excellent compendium: Policy Responses to New Forms of Work. The report presents a comprehensive look at the state of policy making related to the gig economy. It reports on a survey of 44 Ministries of Labor around the world, along with an extensive review of recent research. While the surveyed economies are quite diverse, the study finds many common concerns among policymakers. These include building strong safety nets for freelancers, developing better data to understand the gig economy, and finding new tools and methods to provide training and other support services to these workers.