Clinton eyes flexible benefits for 'on-demand economy' workers

Clinton eyes flexible benefits for 'on-demand economy' workers

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSuper PACs release ad campaign hitting Vance over past comments on Trump I voted for Trump in 2020 — he proved to be the ultimate RINO in 2021 Neera Tanden tapped as White House staff secretary MORE suggested on Monday that she favors making benefits more portable for workers in the “on-demand economy” — such as those with Uber or Airbnb.

Workers for many of the companies are contractors, not employees. Their status means they do not get benefits like Social Security contributions or unemployment.


“I certainly don’t have all the answers,” Clinton said on a Facebook thread set up by her campaign in response to a question from a Huffington Post reporter. “But we have to resolve these questions while embracing the promise and potential of these new technologies and without stifling innovation or limiting the ability of working moms and veterans and young people to get ahead."

“On the issue of benefits, the experience of the Affordable Care act shows that we need to make sure people have access to benefits and that they are portable as they move from job to job.”

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) suggested separating benefits from on-demand economy employers during a speech earlier this year. Among other proposals, he floated the idea of a third-party organization that would administer benefits for workers who were earning money from different on-demand economy companies at the same time.

Warner is expected to introduce legislation on the topic.

On-demand economy companies have implied that portable benefits can be good for their businesses. Uber founder Travis Kalanick, known for generally harboring libertarian political tendencies, said last fall the ObamaCare was “huge” for the company.

Clinton did not weigh in on whether workers in the sharing economy are currently misclassified as contractors or present a more detailed model for how portable benefits might work. Her campaign did not immediately respond to a question about when a more detailed policy proposal might be offered by the candidate.

In her answer, Clinton exhibited the cautiousness that marked her first remarks on the topic, when she said only that the “on-demand, or so-called 'gig economy,' is creating exciting opportunities and unleashing innovation, but it's also raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future."

The former secretary of state and other Democrats have said they believe the misclassification is a problem, but have not tied it explicitly to the on-demand economy.

Clinton may be trying to avoid alienating the companies and those who believe they represent the innovative spirit of America’s tech sector.

The on-demand economy is also currently one of the most closely watched areas in tech. Uber and Airbnb are currently the two most valuable U.S.-based startups, and both have significant global presences.

Republicans have endorsed the companies has they look to gain credibility with the tech sector and young people, with some attacking Clinton for her initial remarks.