From today’s MarketWatch:
Healthcare, the nation’s fastest-growing industry, could be next in the push for laws to expand gig work.
A measure filed this week with the California attorney general’s office seeks to ask the state’s voters in November to classify nurses, dental hygienists, occupational therapists and other healthcare workers who secure work online or through apps as independent contractors. The proposed measure was submitted by a law firm that worked on Proposition 22, the record-breaking $200 million-plus initiative campaign funded by Uber Technologies Inc. UBER, 5.95%, DoorDash Inc. DASH, 8.37%, Lyft Inc. LYFT, 6.79% and Instacart that allowed those companies to bypass a state law that would have classified their drivers as employees instead of contractors.
California voters passed that law in 2020, but a state court declared it unconstitutional, a ruling that the gig companies are appealing while attempting to replicate the law in other states and nations. The state’s laws often become a model for other states, so there is a possibility of a similar trajectory with healthcare, which is expected to add more jobs than any other occupations this decade, growing to be the nation’s largest industry by 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The group behind the ballot initiative, which calls itself Californians for Equitable Healthcare Access, is not revealing its backers yet. If the initiative qualifies for the November ballot and is passed by voters, it would allow employers to treat healthcare workers as independent contractors if they secure assignments from digital platforms and satisfy several criteria, including that they largely determine their own schedules, are free to accept or reject work without penalty and can accept work from other platforms and sources.
“Healthcare professionals deserve to have flexibility to choose where and when to provide services, and facilities deserve to be able to find these independent healthcare providers quickly and easily to support their patients, particularly under changing conditions,” a spokesman for the group said.
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