TEXT OF STORY
Bob Moon: We’ve told you that unemployment claims are at an all-time high. Well, at least some people have benefits coming. If you don’t work for a company, you can fall through that safety net. A group representing independent workers wants to change that situation, as our senior business correspondent, Bob Moon, reports.
Bob Moon: The self-employed and many contract workers are out of luck if their work dries up. That worries Don Bertschman, a freelance writer in Pittsburgh, PA — even though he’s found enough work to get by so far.
Don Bertschman: A month from now, I could have no work — then there is no unemployment insurance.
He’s far from alone, says Sara Horowitz. She heads the New York-based Freelancers Union, which calls itself “a federation of the unaffiliated.”
Sara Horowitz: A third of the workforce is now working freelance, or independently. So we need to update the unemployment system written in the 1930’s.
The group wants Congress to create a rainy day fund for those people.
Horowitz: Savings they put away, and then have a government match so they could use that money for the downtimes.
Writer Don Bertschman says he would definitely rest easier with that kind of plan:
Bertschman: If there was a system set up for freelancers to let them create their own safety net, I would pay into that kind of system.
Many independent workers aren’t eligible now because jobless benefits come from taxing employers.
I’m Bob Moon for Marketplace.