On June 7, the Department of Labor (DOL) withdrew two pieces of informal guidance that had been issued in 2015 and 2016 regarding independent contractors and joint employment, respectively. (See WICs articles, “DOL Issues Guidance on Misclassification of Independent Contractors,” July 16, 2015 and “DOL Issues Joint Employment Guidance,” January 22, 2016.) The 2015 memo addressed the misclassification of independent contractors, noting that most workers should be considered employees, unless they clearly met the criteria and characteristics for independent contractors. The 2016 guidance called for additional scrutiny into business arrangements where multiple companies might jointly employ workers.
Though the DOL notes that “removal of the two administrator interpretations does not change the legal responsibilities of employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act or Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act,” the withdrawal of the guidance indicates a shift in the current administration’s priorities from what the previous administration’s priorities were in these areas. There is no indicator in the notice whether there are any plans to replace the withdrawn guidance with new guidance.
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