Retirees who depend on app-based work need lawmakers to protect our flexibility

Updated: Aug 5

National App-Based Work Alliance Will Advocate for Solutions That Preserve Worker Independence and Access to Benefits

By: Caryn D.

Last year marked my 30th year as a teacher in the Maryland Public School system, and when I hit that milestone, I made the decision to retire and focus my time on my family.

My husband has been working with Uber Eats and after I saw how great the flexibility of driving was working for him, I decided to try my hand at app-based work too. When I discovered Instacart, I fell in love with the ability to tailor my schedule to fit my life and even found some similar parallels between teaching and shopping.

Between teaching special education and reading intervention, I always felt that I was called to help others. With Instacart, I’m able to continue doing just that. Whether I’m shopping for a young mother with kids at home, or for an elderly person who can’t get out to the stores due to the pandemic, providing an essential service to those who need it keeps me going.

Besides getting to help my customers, I also get to help my family by being there for them when they need me. Whether I need to go visit my 85-year-old mother, spend time with my own children, or take care of one of my young grandbabies, I am able to do so because of the flexibility I have day-in and day-out to work on my own schedule.

I was used to a traditional 9 to 5 schedule when I was teaching, and when I retired I knew I needed something that gave me the flexibility to both enjoy my retirement and earn income. Being able to set my own schedule with Instacart means I don’t have to choose between flexibility and financial stability. Instead, I can choose to work when I want and support my family as needed.

App-based work is a great solution for retirees like me who want to earn income without having to recommit themselves to another full-time schedule. That’s why I was concerned to hear about a bill in the U.S. Senate that could take away earning opportunities from independent workers: the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act).

The PRO Act would narrowly redefine independent workers as employees, forcing many workers to either agree to a set schedule or find a different line of work. Between my recent retirement and my responsibilities to my family, I would unfortunately have to give up shopping for Instacart if I lost the flexibility I cherish so much.

This bill would threaten work opportunities for the parents, students, and retirees like me across the nation who rely on independent work. Instead of passing such sweeping legislation, we need our lawmakers to listen to the millions of Americans who depend on the flexibility of independent work and reject the PRO Act.

Shopping has allowed me to gain financial freedom, continue my passion of helping my community, and spend important time with my loved ones. I sincerely hope that our lawmakers in the Senate will recognize the amazing benefits of independent work by opposing this bill, and work to find smarter solutions to set independent workers up for long-term success.

Caryn D. is an Instacart shopper from Frederick, Maryland.