FLSA Proposed Rule: Employee vs. Independent Contractor
September 24, 2020
On September 22, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (Department) announced a proposed rule addressing how to determine whether a worker is an employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or an independent contractor.
In this rulemaking, the Department proposes to:
- Adopt an “economic reality” test to determine a worker’s status as an FLSA employee or an independent contractor. The test considers whether a worker is in business for themselves (independent contractor) or is economically dependent on a putative employer for work (employee);
- Identify and explain two “core factors,” specifically: the nature and degree of the worker’s control over the work; and the worker’s opportunity for profit or loss based on initiative and/or investment. These factors help determine if a worker is economically dependent on someone else’s business or is in business for themselves;
- Identify three other factors that may serve as additional guideposts in the analysis including: the amount of skill required for the work; the degree of permanence of the working relationship between the worker and the potential employer; and whether the work is part of an integrated unit of production; and
- Advise that the actual practice is more relevant than what may be contractually or theoretically possible in determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor.
The Department seeks comment on all aspects of the proposed rule; comments can be submitted through regulations.gov for 30 days following the publication on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register.