If you've ever requested an Uber or rented a room on Airbnb, then you are among the millions of Americans participating in the "gig" economy.
These digital marketplaces provide customers with convenience and workers with the freedom to create their own schedule. Yet that freedom comes at a cost. Many of these jobs don't offer benefits such as sick leave or reimbursements, allowing companies to save on employee expenses.
"We've seen this for more than a decade in sort of the white collar jobs. People who are teachers might tutor, [and] lawyers who become moms maybe can do legal work on the side," AOL co-founder Steve Case told CNBC's "On the Money." "We're just now seeing that broaden and giving that same opportunity to people in other fields."
More people are entering the gig economy workforce, more than 50 million in 2015, an increase of 700,000 from 2014, according to figures from the Freelancer's Union, calling into question how the new economy should be regulated. While the vast majority of workers in this economy have other sources of income, about 15 million Americans say working these gigs makes up more than 40 percent of their pay.
Uber, Lyft and grocery delivery app Instacart are just some of the "on-demand" companies facing lawsuits from workers. These dissidents are calling for the companies to reclassify their status from independent contractor to employee, the better for them to partake of benefits offered to full-time workers.