Strengthen Contracted Workers’ Rights and Employer Accountability

Employers often use contracted labor arrangements to shed responsibility for job quality. NELP works to ensure that employers are accountable to every worker powering their businesses.

Who Are Contracted Workers?

More than 26 million people—around one in six U.S. workers—are working as independent contractors, temp and staffing agency workers, or contract firm workers.

Companies “contract out” labor by hiring workers as independent contractors or by hiring through labor subcontractors such as temp agencies. The problem is that many companies “contract out” to avoid their responsibilities to:

  • Pay into Social Security and other social insurance systems.
  • Comply with wage and other labor standards.

Contracting Away Workers’ Rights

The practice of “contracting out” labor shifts the costs of doing business onto individual workers or third-party (likely smaller) businesses, often degrading wages and working conditions.

Corporate use of contracted labor shifts power away from working people. And it is a driver of occupational segregation and racial and gender inequality, because businesses often place people of color, immigrants, and women into the lowest-quality contracted jobs.

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Worker Voices on Gig and Contract Work

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The workers who make these companies rich are real people — we aren’t just parts of an algorithm. We have lives to live.
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I started doing home care work in the late 80s. Now, all home care workers in Washington State have employee rights and protections, but back then if you didn’t work for an agency you weren’t considered a direct employee.