April 15, 2016
On the heels of the White House's request for Congress to fund a pilot program to make portable benefits available to contingent workers, DOL Assistant Secretary for Employee Benefits Security Phyllis Borzi said the emergence of the so-called "gig economy" has highlighted a longstanding need for portable benefits in a wide range of employment settings. "While some here may think that this challenge of portability is new," Borzi remarked at an Aspen Institute meeting, "...it's because of the on-demand economy and factors that are coming around now, it's been baked into the system for decades." The President's proposal in February marked the first time the White House has pushed for a portable benefits system. The proposal and Borzi's comments come alongside a recent surge of support of portable benefits from both policymakers and the business community, the latter of which faces challenges in funding benefits for contingent workers without it being considered an indicia of employment that would render them fully liable under various employment laws.