A group of Democratic senators urged Google to give independent contractors full-time status in a recent letter, accusing the Internet giant of shirking its legal responsibility.
“The differences between the categories of workers appears to be in name only,” the senators wrote in the July 25 letter, first reported by the New York Times. “In at least some cases, your company determines where these individuals work, the hours they work, the tasks they perform, and whether or not they should continue to work on Google contracts.”
The letter — written by Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), among others — cites a New York Times article published in May showing that Google employs 121,000 independent contractors compared to 102,000 full-time employees. The temporary workers make less money, have different benefits plans and have no paid vacation time in the U.S., according to the Times report.
“Google contractors and temporary workers also have fewer opportunities for professional advancement and less leverage in the workplace because they are trying to become full-time employees,” the senators wrote. “That leaves them vulnerable to Google management demands, including requests not to report overtime or inappropriate advances. These are abuses of the independent contractor and temporary worker classifications.”
Among their requests, the senators asked Google to give contractors equal pay and automatically make them full-time employees after six months.