The Labor Department has proposed a rule that would make it easier for delivery drivers, janitors, construction workers and other independent contractors to be considered employees, granting them access to benefits and federal labor protections.
“While independent contractors have an important role in our economy, we have seen in many cases that employers misclassify their employees as independent contractors, particularly among our nation’s most vulnerable workers,” Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh said in a statement. “Misclassification deprives workers of their federal labor protections, including their right to be paid their full, legally earned wages.”
The proposal must face a public comment period and would take months to go into effect if approved. Companies that are dominant in the gig economy such as Lyft and Uber, whose business models revolve around independent contractors, oppose the change, saying it would be costly and create unnecessary complications.
Here’s what you need to know.