National App-Based Work Alliance Will Advocate for Solutions That Preserve Worker Independence and Access to Benefits
Written by: Pete Mattioli
While I work full-time as a youth pastor, I‘ve found that having an extra way to earn money helps give my family a financial boost without interfering with my day-to-day work and family life.
That’s why being able to work with app-based delivery companies is such a huge blessing. It lets me turn my passion for meeting new people and helping others in my community into flexible income I can earn on my own time, helping me pay my bills and keep up with my student loan payments.
It isn’t just about paying off student loan debt or covering unexpected bills, though. My son has had life-threatening lung problems that, at one point, required doctors to remove his left lung after a procedure went wrong. While he’s fine now and receiving all the oxygen he needs, he has still required several surgeries over the years to ensure he grows healthy. Earning extra money by making deliveries keeps us from falling behind on our steady stream of medical bills.
As a full-time pastor, though, my hours can sometimes be unpredictable, and some weeks I can work up to 60 hours. That’s why the flexibility of doing deliveries is so important. If I have a light work week, I can make deliveries, but if it’s a busy week I’m not obligated. Whether I have a full day or just 45 minutes to devote to making a little extra money, I can make my own hours and control how much I’m able to work without worrying about it interfering with my full-time job.
It’s also made me feel like I’m making a positive impact in my community. When I make deliveries, I often meet people who are unable to go out themselves or who feel uncomfortable going to stores because of the pandemic. These folks truly appreciate having someone to help. Even if I’m just the first polite person they speak to that day, it is rewarding to have the opportunity to assist them.
This work is a fantastic way to make the money my family needs and plays a vital role in keeping us financially secure. I know that this is the same case for many others, though there are still some important things that could be done to help flexible workers even more.
While I have a full-time job and get health benefits through my wife’s employer, there are still some benefits that I’d like to have access to, such as a retirement account. I know this is a similar case for some drivers who deliver full-time but need access to health benefits. If we had access to whichever benefits we each need through our delivery jobs, it would make a massive difference.
For example, with something like portable benefits, workers like me who work for multiple app platforms could rest a bit easier knowing we have the same kind of certainty people with more traditional benefits have.
Flexible work opportunities have changed a lot of lives, especially during the pandemic. I know it’s changed mine. Making benefits more accessible to those working these jobs would open incredible opportunities to many more people and create a new world of possibility for those who need a bit of help.
Pete Mattioli lives in Knoxville, Tennessee and delivers for DoorDash and Instacart.