Gig Workers and the Social Safety Net: Lessons from the Pandemic

I write a lot about independent workers on this blog, and often bemoan the lack of a social safety net for these folks.  That’s why I’m really intrigued to dig into a new book, Side Hustle Safety Net:  How Vulnerable Workers Survive Precarious Times, by UNC-Chapel professor Alexandrea L. Ravenelle.   The book looks at one of the public policy bright spots from the COVID-19 era: the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program. For the first time in our history, independent workers were finally eligible for unemployment when their work options disappeared.  The book suggests that this support offered a real lifeline, confirming what I’ve seen among my own friends and family.  Benefits provided a financial lifeline, but also provided unemployed workers with some breathing space to gain new skills and pursue other career opportunities.  I’m looking forward to reading this book, which will hopefully help trigger more interest in developing permanent solutions to support the independent workforce.  You can purchase the book here, and get a nice excerpt from our friends at Next City here.