Don't HR Alone #14 - Independent Contractor Changes, and Arkansas Unemployment


Acosta withdraws informal guidance on independent contractors and joint employers — FEDERAL NEWS

On June 7, in a move not entirely unexpected, new Labor Secretary Andrew Acosta announced that the DOL’s 2015 and 2016 informal guidance on joint employment and independent contractors has been withdrawn. The removal of the administrator interpretations (which were not specifically named by formal title but easily identifiable to DOL watchers) does not change the legal responsibilities of employers under the FLSA and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA), as reflected in the department’s long-standing regulations and case law, the DOL cautioned in a news release.

With the many changes wrought by the growing "sharing" or "gig" economy, the Obama Administration’s Department of Labor sought to evolve practices in a manner that would continue to ensure worker protections under laws that did not envision the employment relationships that mark the so-called "fissured" workplace becoming more and more common today. Opponents of these Obama-era efforts, however, viewed these practices as overreaching, going beyond statutory authority, and as potential, if not real, barriers to small businesses and job growth. Opposition to the policies embodied in the now withdrawn sub-regulatory guidance documents sparked several rounds of congressional committee hearings.

Independent contractor misclassification. Rolling back the Obama-era policies, Acosta has withdrawn Administrator’s Interpretation No. 2015-1, issued by former Wage and Hour Division Administrator Dr. David Weil on July 15, 2015. That guidance came down strongly on the side of finding an employment relationship as opposed to an independent contractor one. The WHD took the position that most workers are employees under the FLSA. The compliance assistance document focused