Gig Economy and More Face Turbulence as Democrats Redefine Worker Rules

Biden’s new regulation has contractors and companies alike questioning how it will affect their jobs. Read below to see if your classification will change.

Biden’s New Regulation

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The Biden administration recently announced a new rule intended to change how businesses categorize their employees. 

The Affected Industries

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This might have an impact on a number of industries, including construction, restaurants, healthcare, and transportation.

This regulation, which will take effect in March, will replace the 2021 rule put in place during the Trump administration. 

More Stringent Framework

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Its goal is to provide a more stringent framework for deciding whether a worker can be designated as an independent contractor.

Possible Pushback

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This new regulation has the ability to affect millions of jobs.

Before you panic, it is important to remember that businesses impacted by this might look into legal options to challenge its implementation. 

The Gig Economy Bigwigs

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In response, app-based businesses—especially those operating in the gig economy—have expressed optimism that the law won’t drastically change their core business strategies anytime soon. 

Uber’s Statement

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Uber released a statement saying, “This rule does not materially change the law under which we operate and won’t impact the classification of the over one million Americans who turn to Uber to make money flexibly.” 

DoorDash Holds Strong

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DoorDash agreed, saying, “We do not anticipate this rule causing changes to our business,” the company said in a statement.” 

The Fundamental Question

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The fundamental question is whether or not to classify workers as independent contractors or employees.

Federal labor laws such as minimum wage, workers’ compensation, and unemployment benefits are not applicable to independent contractors. 

Avoiding Benefits

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It has been alleged that some businesses misclassify their workers as contractors in order to evade offering these benefits. 

The Variables at Play

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In order to assess a worker’s categorization, the new rule takes into account variables like the longevity of their employment, the extent of employer control over their performance, and the significance of their function to the organization as a whole.

Labor Secretary’s Statement

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Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su said, “This rule provides greater clarity and consistency in determining a worker’s status. ” 

Officials Remain Hopeful

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A department spokesman continued, saying that the strategy is not industry-specific and officials hope it won’t cause “widespread reclassification of workers in any industry.” 

Looking Back

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This regulatory action is in line with President Biden’s larger plan to deal with labor-related issues.

The administration first proposed the rule in October 2022, and throughout the consultation period, about 55,000 responses were received. 

The Familiar Discussion

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The introduction of the rule may rekindle discussions over how to classify food delivery drivers and ride-share services.

The big names in these markets, including as DoorDash, Lyft, and Uber, have fought in court for years to be able to keep the status of their drivers as independent contractors.

California Paves the Way

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2020 saw the issue pick up steam as California emerged as the state where laws pertaining to gig workers were fought over. 

The Ballot Campaign

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An expensive ballot campaign that would have prevented Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash from reclassifying drivers as employees in the state was successfully spearheaded by them.

This vote established a precedent that affected other states’ laws pertaining to gig workers.

Washington Follows Suit

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For example, Washington State approved legislation in 2022 to maintain the independent contractor model for these businesses.

These businesses intend to launch a ballot effort in Massachusetts later this year that is modeled after the one in California.

The Labor Department’s Opposition

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Trade associations that represent a number of app-based businesses, such as Flex, have typically opposed the Labor Department’s rule. 

Concerns about Uncertainty

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Flex argues that millions of entrepreneurs and small business owners may experience severe uncertainty as a result.

On the other hand, the labor union organization AFL-CIO has applauded the proposed rule, seeing it as a safeguard against dishonest employers.

Effects Unknown

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Although the rule’s exact effects are still unknown, experts believe that how the legal system interprets it will be crucial. 

Test Cases Coming Soon

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Test cases are likely to arise, according to Loyola University Chicago management professor Peter Norlander, who notes, “Pretty soon you’re going to have a test case or multiple cases where a worker says I’m being treated like an independent contractor, and I should be treated like an employee.”

To Be Determined

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Norlander continued, “I think the ultimate resolution of this is to be determined.”

Altering the Course

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The new worker classification guideline from the Biden administration is set to alter the course of employment law this year.  Legal disputes and industrial reactions will determine how this reform ultimately affects the labor field as it develops.

The post Gig Economy and More Face Turbulence as Democrats Redefine Worker Rules first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Dejan Dundjerski. 

The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

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