Both the US govt. and Hillary Clinton highlighted their concerns this week about the Gig (on-demand) economy. The Department of Labor went on to underscore that the test to see if someone is an employee is very broad.
If you’re encouraged to wear the company t-shirt, use the company scheduling system, follow the company’s rules about how to interact with customers, and let the company set the rates (true for some of the gig businesses, not for others), then you’re on thin ice. The memo says that “most workers are employees under the [Fair Labor Standards Act's] broad definitions, which use a standard that employment means “to suffer or permit to work.” A lot of gig economy companies have got to be very nervous right now, and for good reason. Should they have to cave on the independence of workers, you could expect some of these companies to disappear and others to treat the people as employees — and very possibly raise their rates to cover the additional costs.