Fissuring in the workplace is a relatively new term. You may have heard about fissuring, a term coined by David Weil. He and Tanya Goldman in the article “Labor Standards, the Fissured Workplace and the On-Demand Economy” explain fissuring as follows:
It “means that in more and more workplaces, the employment relationship has been broken into pieces often shifted…to individuals who are treated as independent contractors.”
Other terms have become prevalent that also reflect this employment change. These are terms such as standard employment, non-standard employment, alternative work arrangements, independent contractors and contract employees.
The business models that typically accomplish fissuring use:
- Temporary agencies
- Labor brokers
- Third-party management
What Does Fissuring Mean for Employers and Employees?
As stated by an article in The American Prospect, the workplace is undergoing a change, and fissure is what is happening to the U.S. workforce.
Back in the day, an employee worked for a company, received benefits, stayed with the company long-term and received a pension for retirement. The average worker often spent a lifetime working for the same company.
In an effort to reduce labor costs and also lasting ties to workers, companies have implemented a variety of employment strategies. Strategies include hiring through apps, employing temp workers and freelancers along with contracting out and in some cases, misclassifying employees.
Today, many people have two or three part-time jobs because main jobs are not available. Multiple part time jobs are necessary for them to make financial ends meet.
Yet, various wage changes have also emerged as a result of the fissured workplace. New York, New Jersey, California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts and Connecticut have all enacted $15 minimum wage laws.
The History Behind the Wage Increases
Governor Cuomo of New York created a wage board and held hearings throughout New York. At the hearings, many fast-food workers testified that they couldn’t survive on the $8.25 minimum wage. The New York legislature enacted legislation to raise wages to $15 per hour. Subsequently, the New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission engaged in a similar action and raised wages to a minimum of $17.22 per hour for app -based drivers.
The newest emerging trend is for cities to create boards that help workers raise their pay. In this effort, the boards appear to be taking on the previous function of labor unions, which were known in the past for working to equalize pay.
As Bob Dylan sang back in the 1960s, “The Times, They Are a Changin’.“
At Stephen Hans & Associates, we work with employers to help them comply with employment laws and to deal with employment issues.