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The PRO Act would devastate flexible work arrangements for women

Mar 9, 2021 by AFP

Before Beth Anne Mumford became a regional director at Americans for Prosperity, she was an independent contractor for several years, working on strategic communications with clients in the U.S. and Canada. So she has a personal stake in defeating the PRO Act.

“As a working mother, I have personally benefited from independent work, which allowed me to raise my children while building my career,” she writes in an opinion piece in Real Clear Markets.

That kind of flexibility is at risk of being destroyed by the PRO Act, legislation the U.S. House is considering this week that would reclassify most independent contractors as employees under the National Labor Relations Act.

But tens of millions of independent contractors and freelancers don’t want to be reclassified. They’re perfectly happy controlling their own work lives, hours, and choices.

That’s especially true for women, who account for 55 percent of growth among independent contractors.

Mumford cites a study from the Independent Women’s Forum showing that 94 percent of female contractors choose to participate in the gig economy for the flexibility, even at the expense of employer-provided benefits and paid time off.

The PRO Act would put an end to that, even as contacting has allowed hundreds of thousands of women to find alternative work situations amid layoffs caused by COVID-19 lockdowns.

“Now more than ever, people need flexible work to accommodate challenges in their own lives — whether it’s providing child care, dealing with volatile school schedules, or caring for elderly parents,” Mumford writes.

Read in Real Clear Markets how Congress should be making it easier, not harder, to earn a living through independent work. Then, take action to tell lawmakers to oppose the PRO Act.