NELP Applauds DOL’s Proposed Independent Contractor Rule

Contact: Oliver Jones,

Following is a statement from Rebecca Dixon, executive director of the National Employment Law Project:

“NELP applauds the U.S. Labor Department’s proposed rule on employee and independent contractor classification, which correctly promotes a broad interpretation of the scope of employment under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and clarifies the proper analysis for determining whether a worker is an independent contractor and excluded from the FLSA’s protections.

“For decades, employers have misclassified their employees as independent contractors to depress wages and working conditions and to maximize corporate profits. Often times, workers must sign contracts attesting to their ‘independent contractor’ status as a prerequisite condition of work.

“While misclassification capitalizes on the imbalance of power in many work relationships, the illegal practice is strikingly racialized, occurring in low-wage, labor-intensive occupations in which Black and immigrant workers are overrepresented, including janitorial services, home care, trucking and transportation, and hospitality. This means misclassification removes employment protections—including the right to minimum wage and overtime under the FLSA—from the workers who most need them.

“In replacing the Trump administration’s 2021 independent contractor rule, which improperly narrowed longstanding FLSA analysis, today’s proposed rule clarifies the six ‘economic reality’ factors that address the fundamental question: is the worker in business for themself, or do they depend on finding work in the business of others? The factors provide a useful analysis for the many kinds of work relationships that exist today, including arrangements where an employer does not directly control a worker or uses an agent or technology to manage or supervise workers’ activities.

“By interpreting FLSA coverage broadly, the proposed rule targets an age-old employer abuse—dodging accountability by falsely labeling their employees as independent contractors—and returns the Labor Department to the original intent of the Fair Labor Standards Act: to provide bedrock protections to a wide range of working people to promote the ‘health, efficiency, and general well-being of workers.’ It is also consistent with Supreme Court precedent, which has recognized that the ‘striking breadth’ and unique history of the FLSA’s definitions mean that most workers are employees entitled to its protections.

“Today the U.S. Labor Department has taken a significant step forward in ensuring all people who work for someone else—regardless of who they are, where they work, or what they do—have access to our foundational minimum wage and overtime protections.”

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