SEC proposal could turn gig workers into stockholders

Internet platforms relying on gig workers are getting flak not just for low pay, but also for not providing health insurance and vacation or sick time. The ability to compensate workers in stocks could be a way for them to offer bigger compensation without actually having to fork out cash. It could also be a way to get gig workers invested in a company’s performance, even if said company doesn’t offer them the usual employee benefits.

In the SEC’s announcement, the agency wrote:

“The proposed rules reflect the significant evolution that has taken place in the composition and participation of the workforce since the Commission last substantively amended Rule 701 or Form S-8, particularly the development of the so-called “gig economy,” which has resulted in new work relationships.”

Its proposal is now open to public comment over the next 60 days. Take note that two SEC commissioners are opposing the rule changes, though. Commissioners Allison Herren Lee and Caroline A. Crenshaw said in a statement: “[W]e cannot support this proposal because there is no sound policy justification for singling out a subtype of alternative workers for this exemption — those who provide services through internet- or technology-based platforms.” They point out that the rule changes leave out freelancers, temporary help agency workers, on-call workers and other independent contractors that don’t work for internet—based companies.