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Is gig work compatible with employment status? Study finds reclassification benefits both workers and platforms.

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05/16/24 - BOSTON, MA. - Northeastern professor Ozlem Ergun, COE distinguished professor and associate chair for graduate affairs, mechanical and industrial engineering speaks during The Algorithmic Workplace event held in the John D. O’Bryant African American Institute on May 16, 2024. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University
image of Northeastern professor Ozlem Ergun, COE distinguished professor and associate chair for graduate affairs, mechanical and industrial engineering speaking during The Algorithmic Workplace event held in the John D. O’Bryant African American Institute on May 16, 2024.

As California legal challenges to the treatment and classification of so-called gig work continues apace, a Massachusetts trial over the same issues touched off this week. Indeed, the fight over platform companies’ treatment of gig workers as independent contractors has become a central discontent of the modern “gig” economy, so-named because of the sheer number of independent contractors that populate today’s workforce.

But Northeastern University-led research suggests both workers and platforms may benefit from a move away from the independent contractor model to standardized employment. An interdisciplinary team of researchers at Northeastern studied the working behavior of Deliv, a U.S.-based package delivery platform, that facilitates so-called last-mile deliveries between retailers and consumers. The group found that as workers transitioned from independent contractors to employment status, their flexibility remained the same, while the company’s operational efficiency improved.

Read more at Northeastern Global News.

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