Gig Economy Employers of gig and short-term workers will have to adjust their business models, or see a new generation of employers outcompete them. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The workforce as we know it is changing, plain and simple. Looking for work and need to make money fast? Pick up your smartphone and boot up an app that lets you turn your vehicle into a car service or hop on a bicycle to deliver food. You’d be far from the first to do so–according to global consulting firm McKinsey, there are 68 million freelancers or self-employed people in the US today, with around 4 million Americans participating in gig marketplaces like Lyft and Postmates. And for the first time ever, the number of contract workers at Google exceeded the number of employees.

This shift has raised a critical question – should freelance, temp and gig employees be eligible to receive employee benefits? These workers are increasingly driving the American economy. They may be part-time employees (if they are employees at all), but their health needs are very much full-time. Chronic conditions like diabetes, or the need to provide health care for your children, do not end when you finish your latest gig. So there is not only an economic imperative to ensure gig workers have benefits, but a moral one as well.

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