As we’ve often mentioned, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division is sharply focused on rooting-out alleged misclassification of employees in the workplace. The WHD is heavily scrutinizing a variety of new business models — which the WHD calls the “gig economy” — in which it’s routine for personnel to be considered contractors. Today at 5 pm, the WHD is sponsoring a Facebook Q&A session to discuss their interpretation of the law with interested parties. Here’s the email announcement.
You may have noticed a lot of discussion recently about whether certain workers are employees or independent contractors. Here at the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division, we’re tackling the employee misclassification issue head-on because so much depends upon the answer to that question.
We need to ensure the fundamental principal behind work in America — that a fair day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. When employers misclassify their employees as independent contractors, often to cut their own costs, those workers are denied the protections of basic labor standards such as minimum wage and overtime, in addition to necessary safety and health protections. Competitors lose out, too, when they can’t compete with employers getting ahead by skirting the law.
Combatting employee misclassification, particularly where vulnerable workers are at risk, continues to be a high priority for the Labor Department and this administration.
This is an ongoing conversation — and one where we want to hear from you!
This afternoon is an opportunity to peek inside the WHD, and get a sense of their thinking, and their forthcoming enforcement efforts. Should be interesting. For a private, tailored discussion about how to appropriately classify personnel in your specific business, contact us anytime.