Gig Briefs: Workers getting instant pay; Gary Johnson sees ‘Uber’ future

In brief

Handy Technologies raises security concerns

Handy Technologies, a New York company that connects customers with independent professionals who provide services like painting, home cleaning and moving, is facing a lawsuit alleging theft and deceptive sales practices, Washington’s NBC 4 reports. The company says its workers undergo background and identity checks, but the Washington D.C. Attorney General’s office says Handy Technologies made untrue or misleading statements about its workers and enrolled customers for recurring services without their knowledge.

On-demand workers start seeing instant pay

An increasing number of workers who offer services on demand now can get paid on demand, thanks to a growing list of companies giving workers the option of cashing out immediately, as opposed to weekly, Bloomberg reports. Payment processing company Stripe, which underpins many on-demand companies, developed the instant-payout feature at the request of Lyft, the No. 2 U.S. ride-hailing app, and began offering its drivers same-day pay last year. Uber started its own instant-pay pilot program in March. Other platforms like, Instacart and Postdates will soon start giving workers the chance to cash out their earnings instantly.

Libraries think beyond the bookshelf

Public libraries are expanding their inventories to include items that people may want to use once in awhile, but not own. The “Library of Things” program in Sacramento, California, has started to loan out an array of tools and appliances, including laminating machines, musical instruments, sewing machines and digital cameras, according to a report from 99% Invisible. The Sacramento program has its roots in the advent of tool libraries in the 1970s, when libraries started serving a “sharing economy” function by reducing people’s need to purchase things and space.

Johnson predicts “Uber” future

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson shared his vision of an “Uber future” at a recent rally in Seatlle, Geek Wire reports. “The mode of the future is the sharing economy,” Johnson said. “It’s Uber. It’s Airbnb. I think it’s gonna be Uber everything.”

Added Johnson: “It’s Uber electrician, it’s Uber plumber, it’s Uber doctor.”

Despite concerns about the lack of a safety net for workers in such an environment, Johnson and others would argue that’s a small price to pay for innovation and a free market.

Digging deeper

Gig companies change tune on employees

Some companies that staffed up with contract workers are ditching the gig model in favor of hiring employees, San Francisco’s KQED reports. Anand Iyer, chief executive of Trusted, an on-demand parcel shipping company, said that the employee model would cost less for the company in the long run, boost workers’ performance with a stronger safety net, and save the company from the legal uncertainty of the gig labor model. A number of other companies are making the same transition for similar reasons. They include Shyp, a parcel shipping service; Munchery, a food delivery service; and Honor, an on-demand service for home health care professionals.

Gig Briefs provides a roundup of top news and occasional long reads on the gig economy.

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