New Proposed Rule on Independent Contractors: DOL’s Latest Plan for Overhaul of the Existing Standard

On October 11, 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a new proposed rule that is more aligned with judicial precedent than a previous proposal regarding whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The proposed rule would rescind the Independent Contractor Rule (2021 IC Rule) promulgated by the Trump administration on January 5, 2021, which has been criticized by some for making it easier for businesses to classify workers as independent contractors.

This is the DOL’s second attempt to rescind the 2021 IC Rule, after a Texas federal court ruled that the DOL’s first revision failed on procedural grounds. The DOL’s latest proposal may also face legal challenges when it is made final. The proposal is subject to a 45-day comment period beginning October 13, 2022, the date of publication in the Federal Register.

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DOL Extends FLSA Final Joint Employment Rule Effective Date

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay non-exempt employees at least minimum wage plus overtime compensation. If an employee is unpaid or underpaid — due to a calculation error or an employee’s unreported time worked, including remote work arrangements during the pandemic — the employee may recover back pay, liquidated damages, attorneys’ fees and litigation costs. If two or more employers have a relationship with an employee — for example, if an employee works for a staffing agency and is assigned to work at the agency’s customer or an employee performs work for two with common ownership or management — the law may deem the employers to be joint employers with joint and several liability, depending on the facts. If one joint employer fails to comply with the FLSA, both joint employers may be held liable. Different laws use different tests for joint employment.

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DOL Proposes New Rule Clarifying the Test for Classification of Workers

On September 22, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a new proposed rule that would substantially simplify the test for determining whether persons are employees or independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Because the FLSA does not actually define “employee,” courts have traditionally filled the void by applying an “economic realities” test that balances several factors. But in issuing a new proposed rule, the DOL noted that the current balancing test is difficult to apply, creates confusion, and is out of step with modern technology and working relationships.

For the full alert, visit the Faegre Drinker website.

Department of Labor Wage & Hour Division Provides Work From Home Guidance

On August 24, 2020, the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor (DOL) published guidance addressing employer obligations to track employee hours while teleworking. The DOL emphasized that though the guidance is being issued in part due to the increase in teleworking arrangements with COVID-19, it applies to all telework or remote work arrangements, not only those caused by the pandemic.

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Donning, Doffing and PPE: The Compensability of Pre-Shift and Post-Shift Activities

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state wage and hour laws require businesses to record and pay their nonexempt employees for all “compensable time,” including certain activities that occur before an employee begins his or her principal activities during the work day. During the COVID-19 pandemic and after retail employees “return to work,” workers may be required (or choose) to engage in certain tasks at the start of their shifts and throughout the workday.

For the full alert, visit the Faegre Drinker website.

Employer COVID-19 Responses May Trigger Additional State and Local Wage Payment, Notice and Other Obligations

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, state and local “stay at home” orders and the resulting financial and business impact, many employers have implemented or are considering a range of workforce planning alternatives to workforce reductions, including moving to a primarily remote workforce, temporary reductions to employee hours or pay (or both), and temporary periods of continued employment without any work or pay (commonly referred to as furloughs). This article addresses some of the frequently asked questions regarding state and local wage payment and notice issues that may arise in connection with such measures.

For the full alert, visit the Faegre Drinker website.