How Obamacare Is Fueling the Gig Economy
Life + Leisure

How Obamacare Is Fueling the Gig Economy

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The desire for autonomy and work-life balance is driving more workers into freelance roles, but at the same time there are growing incentives for companies to employ workers via contracts rather than hire them full-time.

Chief among those incentives is the cost of providing (or not providing) health care to workers under the Affordable Care Act. Nearly three-quarters of companies said that they would contract with more freelancers this year because of Obamacare, according to a new survey by online work platform Field Nation and executive development firm Future Workplace.

Related: Get Ready for Huge Obamacare Premium Hikes in 2017

Last year, companies spent an average of $12,591 on healthcare for workers with family coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation; that's up 54 percent over the past 10 years. This year, companies with more than 50 employees face a penalty of at least $2,160 per worker if they don't provide adequate coverage.

Health Insurance Premiums

As freelancers begin to make up a greater share of the workforce, companies are focused on having them work as seamlessly as possible with staffers. Employers cited teamwork as the most important skill they look for in freelancers, although about a third said freelancers often lacked that skill.

Businesses said that they evaluate their freelancers based on project results and teamwork, with rewards including bonuses and more money on future contracts.

Meanwhile, nearly three-quarters of freelancers say that they would now prefer to either freelance or own a small business rather than working in a traditional full-time job. Among the freelancers surveyed, 40 percent said they liked freelancing because it gave them more control over their time. 

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