Every time a gig economy business offers benefits to workers, a freelancer gets their wings.
Care.com, the nationwide company that connects family members to independent home care providers, recently announced plans to offer new benefits to its cadre of freelancers.
Care.com’s pool of over 9 million professional caregivers now have access to:
- Health and dental plans
- Retirement benefits
- Unemployment insurance
- Worker’s compensation
- Real-time payments
- A new Care Benefit Bucks program to cover doctor copays, prescription costs, and more
Care.com says disability insurance is coming soon. The company is also talking with corporations about participating in a contribution program to bolster its new Care Benefit Bucks program.
How Care.com Works
Families post a notification on Care.com’s website seeking a caregiver to provide one or more home-based services, including:
- Child care
- Adult and senior care
- Errands and odd jobs
- Pet care
- Special needs provider
- Home care
Job seekers create a profile outlining their skills and qualifications, then search for jobs in their area of interest. Families review applicants, check references, interview candidates, and hire caregivers right through the platform.
How Care.com’s Benefit Bucks Program Works
Care.com began offering insurance plans to caregivers early last year, but the Care Benefit Bucks program is fairly new. While the benefit offerings are generous, the company isn’t footing the bill. It’s simply providing a funds collection and distribution platform.
When families disburse payment to caregivers through Care.com’s platform, the company tacks an additional 12% fee to the wages. Of that, 2% goes directly into a benefits fund for caregivers and Care.com pockets the additonal 10% (hey, they have to make money, too).
Once a worker earns $15 in Benefit Bucks, they get a reloadable prepaid card to use for all kinds of stuff, from insurance premiums to gas for their car. Caregivers can spend up to $500 per year in Benefit Bucks.
Unused benefits stay with workers, even if they leave one family to work for another within the Care.com system.
“Caregivers constitute one of the largest segments of the gig economy and the fastest growing large job category in our country,” said Care.com founder and CEO Sheila Lirio Marcelo. “Caregivers frequently work for multiple families and almost always work without access to professional benefits.
“Pooled, portable, peer-to-peer benefits represent a new model for household employment and an innovative step forward in professionalizing caregivers.”
No matter what industry you’re in, freelancing in today’s gig economy is hard work. If you’re thinking of taking a crack at it to make some extra cash, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Caregiving is a tough and thankless job. Hats off to Care.com for making the gig economy a little more rewarding.
Your turn: Have you ever gotten freelance benefits working in the gig economy? How’d you get so lucky?
Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She loves to chat with other Penny Hoarders so look her up on Twitter @lisah.