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Push to protect gig workers in NYS ‘sensible’ for state finances

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Lindsey Knewstub

Labor advocates in New York state are pushing to secure benefits and protection for gig-economy workers by setting a new standard for what qualifies as an ‘independent contractor.’ The proposed law uses an approach called the ‘ABC test’ to determine if a worker is an employee. At an unrelated press conference earlier this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signaled interest in redefining workers’ status. 

Maria Figueroa

Maria Figueroa

Director, Labor and Policy Research

Maria Figueroa, director of Labor and Policy Research at the Cornell University ILR School’s Worker Institute, says that beyond protecting workers’ rights, the coalition’s approach is also potentially beneficial to state’s tax revenue base.

“The approach this coalition is taking is a sensible one, as it will make it more difficult for companies to misclassify workers as independent contractors.

The ‘ABC test’ approach is sensible to the needs of both workers and companies because it does not directly classify gig or non-standard workers as employees, it just establishes stricter criteria for classifying workers as independent contractors. This makes it harder for companies to engage in the practice of misclassification, which is detrimental not only to workers but also to the state’s tax revenue base.

The impact of applying the ‘ABC test’ for workers would be positive, because being misclassified as independent contractors deprives them from all the basic protections that employees enjoy including minimum wages, overtime pay, unemployment insurance, workers compensation, social security, and anti-discrimination protections.”

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