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2009 survey presentation


Independent, Innovative, and Unprotected: …

Independent, Innovative, and Unprotected:

Without a social safety net to fall back on, independent workers have been battered by the recession.

Published in News & Politics
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  • 40% estimate predicted by TIME Magazine on May 19, 2009. Link to online article available.
  • No members from South Dakota responded!
  • Expand Unemployment: Establish a program to allow workers to save for periods of unemployment in tax advantaged savings accounts. • Include independent workers in new programs designed to assist workers through periods of unemployment. Protect workers: • Amend state labor laws to include independent contractors in their wage and hour claims systems. • Establish individual liability for the owners and shareholders of companies that don’t pay. Access to benefits: Allow freelancers to group together Provide low-cost social capital to support innovative, market-based models Allow the self-employed to fully deduct their health insurance premiums


  • 1.
    • How the Old Safety Net Is Failing America’s
    • New Workforce
  • 2. Thank you for joining us
    • Joining us from Freelancers Union:
    • Sara Horowitz Founder & Executive Director
    • Christian Skotte Manager of Marketing & Communications
    • Althea Erickson Associate Director of Advocacy & Policy
    • Rose Auerbach member
    • Jon Pierre member
    • Jenny Troester member
    • Format:
    • Introductions
    • Survey findings
    • Members’ stories
    • Questions from the press
  • 3. America’s New Workforce
    • Who is the new workforce?
    • Freelancers, consultants, independent contractors, temps, part-timers, contingent employees, and the self-employed
    • 42 million workers, comprising 30% of the workforce
    • Predicted to reach 40% by 2019
    • Freelancers Union membership has doubled in the last two years
  • 4. The new workforce during a recession
    • Freelancers’ income has been declining
    • dramatically:
  • 5. Top issues facing freelancers 1. Not having enough work 2. Clients who don’t pay 3. The high cost of health insurance
  • 6. 2009 Survey Respondents
    • 3,155 freelancers responded
    • From 49 states across the U.S.
    • 57% women
    • 43% men
    • Average age: 45
  • 7. Unemployment
    • Independent workers are
    • struggling more than most:
    • 81% did not have enough work
      • 49% experienced periods without
      • any work
      • 32% experienced periods where they wanted more work
    • 12% relied on some form of government assistance
    • (doubled since 2007 survey)
    But they don’t qualify for unemployment insurance.
  • 8. Nonpayment
    • Independent workers are hurt
    • by unpaid wages:
    • 40% had trouble
    • getting paid
    • They lost $6,000 on average
    • They spent 17,000 hours total
    • pursuing unpaid wages
    • But they can’t file unpaid wage claims like traditional
    • workers.
  • 9. Health Insurance
    • Freelancers must buy their own health insurance.
    • The recession forced many to go without.  
    • 14% went without insurance (up 2% from previous year)
    • 18% were forced to give it up (up 5%)
    • 35% cut back their coverage (up 6%)
    • Currently, individual plans on the market cost 300% more
    • than group plans.
  • 10. Recommendations
    • Modernizing America’s Outdated Safety Net:
    • Building sustainable, innovative solutions to protect workers in
    • the new economy
    • Expand Unemployment Protection
    • Expand Worker Protections to Include Independent Workers
    • Increase Independent Workers’ Access to Affordable, Portable Benefits
  • 11. Survey Respondent
    • “ It's a difficult time to be a self-employed American. There's a lot of talk about small independent businesses helping to stimulate the economy, but the government seems to be helping everyone but us.”
    • - Jason, freelance art director from Brooklyn
  • 12. Learn More
    • For more stories and facts about how America’s outdated safety net is failing the new workforce, click below:
    • Read the report summary
    • Read the full report