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McHenry on Gig Workers: All Workers Should Benefit from Coronavirus Relief and Recovery

Washington, March 31, 2020 -

Republican Leader of the House Financial Services Committee Patrick McHenry (NC-10) joined Cheddar this morning to discuss his efforts to ensure gig workers benefit from coronavirus emergency relief, take part in our economic recovery, and—most importantly—keep their jobs. 

Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law last week, gig workers are eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, to provide support for those not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits. Ranking Member McHenry is now pushing for more support for these critical workers. Yesterday, he sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton, urging them to encourage companies to allow employees—of all types—to share in the successes of their companies through equity compensation.

Watch Ranking Member McHenry’s full interview here, or by clicking the image above.

On providing gig workers traditional employee benefits:

“In this bill that we have worked on for the last two weeks to help negotiate, we included gig workers for eligibility for unemployment insurance and I think that was right given the nature of this pandemic. What we didn’t do is give them a whole other suite of options that other employees would get and I think it’s important that we include gig workers in a broader array of the social safety net and options for the same benefits that big company employees and mid-sized company employees get from their jobs and I think that needs to be offered in this next round of regulations that are written around the bill we passed on Friday.”

On our economic recovery:

“What I think we need to add, and what I’ve sent in a letter to the Secretary of the Treasury and the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, is that we need to change the rules so that gig workers get the same economic benefits, the same options for equity—like stock grants or options—that companies give their employees and specifically that companies usually give higher level employees. I think that all employees should have this benefit and get the upside equity for the contribution they’re making to their company. Look, we’re going to have a great American comeback from this … and we want to make sure everyone gets the benefits from the growth of our economy and I think that is the best counter to what is happening right now with the larger political debate on out economic system.”

On opportunities that benefit employers and employees:

“I think we need to give these companies the opportunity to give their gig workers this action, this equity action, that direct employees normally get access to. I think with that incentive out there, with that regulatory change, you’ll have more gig workers get this option. I think this is a great answer to those that are protesting right now that they aren’t getting paid enough by Instacart for instance. If those same folks that are gig workers get the upside potential of the growth of that stock that they are helping grow that company and thereby grow the equity of that company on the stock exchange, I think this would be a good addition to the suite of options that gig workers should be granted.”

For information on the COVID-19 response, view the committee’s resource page here.

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