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The Protecting the Right to Organize Act, now awaiting consideration in the Senate, would upend the livelihoods of countless independent contractors, freelancers, and gig workers across the country.
The bill’s ABC test would allow the National Labor Relations Board to penalize businesses for hiring independent contractors. Then, PRO Act supporters hope, those businesses would hire back those independent contractors as employees.
Unfortunately, this is more of an exercise in wishful thinking than in legislating.
It’s not clear whether many businesses could afford to place their independent contractors on payroll. If California’s Assembly Bill 5, which enforced a similar ABC test, is any guide, many contractors will simply be laid off.
While businesses across the board would take a significant hit, small businesses would be especially vulnerable to the PRO Act’s severe restrictions.
New polling conducted by Alignable, a small business networking site, offers insight into how these businesses might react if the PRO Act becomes law.
According to respondents:
Put simply, these businesses often need independent contractors to get their work done.
What would businesses do if the PRO Act’s ABC test reclassified their contract workers?
According to another poll of business owners:
PRO Act supporters hope that businesses will simply hire traditional W-2 employees in response to independent contractor reclassification. Only a little over 15 percent of respondents said they would be able to do that.
That would severely hurt small businesses and workers, alike.
If many of these small businesses would need to significantly change how they operate on a day-to-day basis, what would that do to their bottom line?
Of the businesses that weighed in:
Not only could the PRO Act hurt the ability of independent contractors to find work, it could put many small businesses out of operation entirely.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made freelance work extremely important for Americans to support themselves and their families, Alignable’s polls show.
Of one poll’s respondents:
Many business owners work in the independent contractor space, too.
Of one poll’s respondents, nearly 25 percent said they relied on side hustles to earn extra money, with nearly 15 percent reporting that they had considered working another job to stay afloat.
These polls show that businesses rely on independent contractors and independent contractors rely on them. The PRO Act could upend the livelihoods of these workers.
Are you a small business owner concerned about how the PRO Act could hurt your business? Tell lawmakers in Congress to oppose this unfair bill. Sign the petition.
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