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Flexible schedules and flexible benefits: A new model would boost financial security for shoppers while preserving independence

Oct 12, 2023
Oct 12, 2023

Flexible schedules and flexible benefits: A new model would boost financial security for shoppers while preserving independence

Shoppers and drivers with Shipt say that what they value most about earning on our platform is the flexibility they have to set their own schedules. In fact, more than 90 percent of shoppers prefer picking up work when and where it makes sense over a prescribed schedule and hours.* And, according to recent research, this is true for independent workers across the board, with recent polling finding that 3 in 4 app-based earners nationwide prefer to maintain their status as independent contractors.

While Shipt currently offers competitive pay and a range of perks, we support changes to the law that would allow shoppers and drivers access to additional benefits without jeopardizing the flexibility and independence they value most. Right now, due to outdated legal frameworks, creating benefits offerings can chip away at independent contractor classification for workers and that flexibility. This is why we support portable benefits: a legal framework that would allow us to contribute to benefits for those earning on our platform while they maintain their status as independent contractors. Having access to portable benefits would offer additional financial security for shoppers and drivers while preserving their independence. 

What are portable benefits?

Portable benefits are connected to an individual worker rather than to a particular company. Under a portable benefits model, gig companies contribute to funds that workers can put toward the benefits that are important to them. Some workers may choose health insurance, sick leave, or retirement, while others may prefer less traditional benefits like tuition reimbursement or child care.

Since portable benefits aren’t tied to a specific company, workers, who typically find work on multiple apps, can take benefit funds they’ve accrued from one platform and combine them with those earned on others. Last year, nearly 70% of shoppers with Shipt used other platforms to earn money.* Under a portable benefits model, someone who shops with Shipt and drives for a ride-sharing platform would receive contributions to their portable benefit account from each company based on how much they earned on each platform. They could then choose to put these funds toward the benefits of their choice. 

Shoppers and drivers choose to work with Shipt for unique reasons and a one-size-fits-all benefits solution simply doesn’t help them. Last year, more than 50 percent of shoppers with Shipt also had traditional full-time employment.** Many shoppers use our platform solely to earn extra income and already have access to traditional benefits through their employer. While they may gain benefits, such as health insurance, through a traditional employer, a portable benefits approach would allow them to direct funds to a benefit they don’t already have with their employer. 

Others use our platform because they need the flexibility to earn income on their own terms while they’re starting businesses or taking care of their loved ones. This approach would not only allow every worker to pick the benefits that make the most sense for their lives, whether they work ten hours a week or 40 – it gives them access to a variety of benefits like retirement savings and childcare that they can choose to opt into. 

What shoppers are saying

“As a social worker, I already have a full-time job with benefits. I choose to work with Shipt because I can pick up extra work when I need to supplement my income without the interference of another schedule. I don’t need traditional benefits and prefer to maintain the flexibility shopping affords me because it helps me avoid feeling overwhelmed with the extra costs of goods, gas, and groceries for my family.” Amy, MI

"I shop with Shipt because the income I make on the platform helps support my photography business, especially during slower months. I love the flexibility of working with Shipt’s platform because it makes it easier to focus on growing my business and caring for my family. It’s refreshing to know that I have access to extra work when I need it without having to commit to a specific work schedule. And being able to work on my own terms while having access to a program like portable benefits would be amazing for me and my growing family!" Erika, MI

"As someone who needs access to flexible work options, I shop with Shipt because it provides the freedom I need to work on my own terms as a wife, mother, and small business owner. Being able to pick up work and create a schedule around the needs of my children and business is one of the best things that I could ask for. As someone who wears many hats, having access to a benefits option that’s not one-size-fits-all would allow me to choose what’s best for me and my family." Lyaja, D.C.

“Working with companies like Shipt has given me the flexibility I need to take care of my family. I create my own schedule and can work around the extra needs of my child – whether there’s an emergency or I need to take him to therapy appointments, I can make a living on my own terms. While I don’t need all of the benefits that come with a traditional job – a program like this will allow me to pick those that make sense for my family. Having access to extra benefits like child care assistance and sick leave could really make a difference for us and our future.” Ronda, MN

We invite all shoppers to learn more about how portable benefits can help strengthen the economic well-being of platform-based workers and share their thoughts with us! We encourage shoppers and drivers to learn more and share your story now.

Want to spread the word about portable benefits? Download and share the infographic below!

*Based on a nationwide survey of 560 shoppers conducted June - August of 2022.
**Based on a nationwide survey of 200,000 shoppers conducted February - May of 2022.

Infographic showing workers, money funneling into a tunnel and benefits icons coming out of funnel

About Shipt

Shipt is a retail tech company that connects people to reliable, high-quality delivery with a personal touch. Through the power of technology, Shipt connects customers to the things they want from the stores they love, workers to new earning opportunities, and retail businesses to more satisfied customers. Headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, Shipt brings people the flexible solutions they need with the above-and-beyond service they expect. Shipt is an independently operated subsidiary of Target Corp. and available in more than 5,000 U.S. cities. For more information, please visit Shipt’s Newsroom.

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