Massive Change to Independent Contractor Employment Law Proposed

Logo of an office worker inside a clock

Across the country, millions of independent contractors are doing work similar or identical to employees, but they aren’t getting the same benefits for it. For the most part, independent contractors do not need to be provided medical benefits, minimum wage, overtime, and other benefits employees rely on to make ends meet. In recent years, a slew of companies – ranging from Google and UPS to Uber – have been accused of intentionally mislabeling employees as independent contractors to boost profits.

In order to bring an end to corporate misclassification of workers, United States Representative Eleanor Norton of Washington DC has introduced the Protecting Independent Contractors from Discrimination Act of 2019 (PICDA). The bill is making legislative waves, as it seeks to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

What will the bill do if it passes?

  • Require independent contractors to be “treated as employees”
  • Apply minimum wage requirements to independent contractor wages
  • Allow independent contractors to earn overtime for working more than 40 hours in a week
  • Permit independent contractors to sue for discrimination against a federally protected class
  • Let independent contractors sue for unpaid wages

Effectively, the bill would apply a variety of employment laws and acts to independent contractors, who were previously overlooked by those laws. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides crucial legal protections for employees with a wide range of mental and physical disabilities, helping them find gainful employment in a variety of industries. PICDA would apply ADA rules to independent contractors, who have been severely limited by the lack of ADA protections.

Will the Proposed Labor Law Pass?

Whether or not PICDA will pass is entirely up in the air at this point due to the bill’s infancy. There will certainly be resistance from lobbyists representing major corporations and gig economy companies. There might also be resistance on Capitol Hill from other Congress members who fear the switch up could cost companies profits and “destroy jobs,” as it often said as an attention-grabbing catchphrase.

On the other hand, New York, California, and a small number of other states have already taken their own strides to improve work conditions and benefits for independent contractors. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has also begun reanalyzing what classifies an independent contractor in the modern age of quick, gig-based employment. In other words, even if PICDA does not pass, it might be just the first steppingstone along the path to improvements for independent contractors.

You can learn more about this ongoing story by clicking here and reading a full article posted by Forbes. If you are an employee in California and you think you’ve been misclassified as an independent contractor by your employer, call (888) 796-4010 to talk with an employment law attorney from Polaris Law Group. With our guidance and representation, you might be able to demand fair compensation from your employer due to an employment law violation.

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