Will work for no benefits: The challenges of being in the new contract workforce

An NPR/Marist poll released this week shows contract work is booming, with 32 million Americans currently making their living that way.

That trend is expected to accelerate over the next decade, as companies and workers seek more flexibility through temporary work arrangements. But that also raises big questions about the future of the safety net: According to the poll, 51 percent of freelance and contract workers do not receive benefits common to many full-time jobs — sick leave, unemployment insurance or retirement savings.

This is a vexing problem for the growing number of freelancers and policymakers.