What is Gig Economy and How Will it Affect Employee Screening Practices?

Photo courtesy of Business New Daily

How many people do you know with a “side-gig”? Between the years of 2010 and 2014, temporary work, or “gigs,” made up 30 percent of new job creation and represented an income source for a little over 2 million people in the US, according to an American Action Forum Report in 2015. As a result, employers have and will continue to have to strengthen their screening processes for this type of temporary side-employment.

A Gig versus a Job

The term “gig” implies short-term or part-time, and it describes temporary work such as driving for Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing services. It also includes house-sharing services and anything else that can be relegated as supplementary. Attorney Lester Rosen of ESR states that gig-economy employees must be subject to rigorous background check screenings just like full-time employees, but that the process may require a “different approach.”

Rise of the Gig Economy

Intuit recently reported that by 2020, at least seven and a half million people will comprise the gig economy, with the number of people filing 1099 tax forms continuing to rise. A Fusion.net report revealed that more than half (60%) of full-time workers supplement at least 25% of their income with side-gigs.

A Different Approach

Employers of gig workers need to process background checks quickly. The main issue is the volume of reports that need processing, considering how gig work goes hand in hand with high turnover rates. Screenings need to be both accurate and fast and must abide with the mounting legislation surrounding transportation network companies (TNC).

For example, Massachusetts recently passed a bill that requires TNCs to conduct full state Criminal Offender Record Information background checks that include the driver’s sex offender registry status, and a bi-annual national commercial background check. This in response to a rash of assaults perpetrated by Uber and Lyft drivers over recent years.

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