Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet cosponsored legislation to establish a portable benefits pilot program for independent workers. The bipartisan legislation would incent states and organizations to test models that allow workers to carry benefits, such as paid leave and skills training, from job to job.
“All hard-working Americans deserve access to economic security, whether they’re earning income through emerging models of work in the 21st century or in jobs that have long lacked access to employer-provided benefits,” Bennet said. “Our goal is to provide states and local governments with the resources to create innovative, flexible, portable benefits that will help independent workers of all kinds take advantage of the opportunities traditionally offered by employers.”
As much as a third of the U.S. workforce is currently engaged in temporary, contract, or on-demand work. But those who earn all or some of their income as independent contractors, part-time workers, temporary workers, or contingent workers find it difficult and expensive to access benefits and protections that are commonly provided to full-time employees, such as paid leave, workers’ compensation, skills training, unemployment insurance, tax withholding, and tax-advantaged retirement savings. Initially introduced last year by U.S. Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Todd Young (R-IN), the Portable Benefits for Independent Workers Pilot Program Act would establish a $20 million grant fund within the U.S. Department of Labor to incent states, localities, and nonprofit organizations to experiment with portable benefits models for the independent workforce that would allow workers to carry these benefits with them from job to job.