Have you ever heard of the PRO Act? You might want to take an interest if you an independent contractor, gig worker, or you do freelancing. Why? The expectation is it will eliminate most forms of independent contracting, gig work, and freelancing. Have I got your attention now?
Here’s what we know. If passed this would potentially impact as many as 59 million jobs. Freelance workers represent 36% of the total U.S. workforce. In 2020, the freelance community accounted for $1.2 trillion in earnings. That number comes from a report published by UpWork. And the Democrats want to kill those jobs. They must be doing it for the children… right?
UpWork did a survey. It found freelancers weathered the COVID-19 storm better than employees. Why would that be? More people became freelancers after government infliction of virus lay off. The survey found working remotely, changing the way they worked, enabled them to better earn a living.
It allows them to provide for their families. It seems independence; freedom to work for yourself, allows you to control your ability to feed yourself. This is shocking, just shocking. But, when you do not understand capitalism you make laws like this. Ask Pappas, Shaheen, Kuster, and Hassan.
Work for yourself, supplement your income?
The National Retail Federation describes the PRO Act (Protecting the Right to Organize) as “the worst bill in Congress.” That statement, at this point, is pretty amazing. Congress is looking at a laundry list of more than 30 radical labor provisions.
If they act on them the measures strip American workers of critical rights and flexible work opportunities. They will also cost the retail industry billions of dollars. The federation lists 10 reasons why the bill is bad for workers. They include ending the ability for individuals to work independently and ending the gig economy.
Opponents argue the bill eliminates the growing freelance industry. The PRO ACT implements an ABC test similar to one enacted in California through its AB5 bill. The PRO Act requires workers to fulfill three criteria in order to keep their jobs.
The burden of proof is on you three ways
First, they need to prove they have an “absence of control.” This means the burden of proof is on the worker to prove they are not under the direct control of their client. Think about that. What it means is you must be able to prove the person you are working for does not have control of the work they are paying you to do? That’s patently impossible. If you are taking money from someone else, of course, you are going to be subject to their control.
That’s what they are doing, buying some of your time to do a task for them. They have a right to dissatisfaction. If they feel that way, you may not get paid. That is control. The intention is to force the creation of more union workers, of a government-enforced guild system.
Second, they must show the work they perform is outside the course of a client’s usual business. An IT worker or an accountant who contracts with a newspaper would probably fail the absence of control requirement. A videographer who sells his or her own copyrighted work to a newspaper would most certainly fail the business of the worker requirement.
Why should the government control how our money is spent? If you want to hire someone to do a task that is or was part of your business why should you have to ask the government may I? If you can contract our accounting, HR, millwork, electrical, etc. why should the government get to have involvement?
The third, is licensing. Does an independent worker hold a professional license? An optometrist or barber would pass this part of the test. They would probably fail the second test, AFP notes. Doing all or a majority of work for a single client at a given time can lead to a failure of this part of the test. This is without regard to whether this is a voluntary choice by an independent contractor.
Does freedom matter? Does the ability to earn a living matter?
All independent contractors should be wary of the potential to lose their independent status. Under this classification test freedom of association is lost in the American economy. It is designed to reclassify most workers with flexible work arrangements. The PRO Act places them in traditional employment. It is the creation of a guild system. With the government as the arbiter of whether you can or cannot work. The ability to do the work will no longer matter. Licensing will matter.
The Brookings Institution reports, “A sizable share of workers in the United States remain outside the traditional employment structure and consequently lack many of the protections and benefits that come with being a traditional employee…”
Proponents of the bill argue freelancers should be required to become full-time employees. Choice is bad. Flexibility is bad. Independence is bad. Not being under direct government control is bad. Proponents argue you must receive benefits such as health insurance and paid vacation. They want to control what a benefit to you is and how you will receive and document it.
AFP Senior Policy Analyst Austen Bannan argues the ABC tests of the PRO Act, “… would hurt both employers and employees by putting up numerous government roadblocks to the flexible work arrangements both are seeking. Instead of being able to work your own way as an independent contractor, the PRO Act could lead to both government and unions dictating the terms of your employment.”
Erica Jedynak is the director of economic opportunity at Stand Together. She writes, “Independent contractors contract their services outside the direct control of [clients]… [They] include gig economy workers, freelancers, many self-employed entrepreneurs, and workers in diverse professions – from yoga instructors to hair stylists to optometrists.”
California began losing jobs and people with the passage of this measure
Under the PRO Act, most of these workers would lose their jobs. They are not traditional full-time employees. If not they would be forced to unionize. The outcome would mirror what happened in California after AB5 became law.
Critics point out the results will likely result in massive layoffs and loss of work. American Action Forum says, employers would lose as much as $12.1 billion per year. That’s the cost if the ABC test were implemented nationwide. Worse tens of millions of independent workers would lose their jobs.
AFP argues, “Any potential good that might be done by the PRO Act would easily be undone by the massive cost to the livelihoods of independent contractors and the businesses who need them,”
National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix told The Center Square the PRO Act is “specifically designed to trample individual worker rights with the single goal of expanding the number of people forced to pay union dues or fees just to get or keep a job… The tens of millions of people who make a living or supplement their income as freelancers and independent contractors are among the legislation’s many targets for forced unionism.”
There are 59 million workers who will feel the effects. You elected Democrats to represent you. Now if you want to keep your job you better let them know your thoughts. Those who support the bill would be destroying the way you make a living. Or maybe you don’t care because you believe the government will take care of you. But, who is going to pay the taxes when a third or more of jobs go away? Take 59 million people out of the workforce and see what happens to tax revenue.