It has been a big day for changes on the worker classification front. In the last 24 hours, Britain’s highest court found that Uber drivers are entitled to minimum wage and overtime and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) withdrew three earlier opinion letters relating to rules that had not gone into effect, two of which directly related to worker classifications.
The DOL withdrawal effects three opinion letters (FLSA 2021-4, FLSA 2021-8, and FLSA 2021-9) that had been issued between January 15, 2021, and January 19, 2021, stating that they were being withdrawn “because they are based on rules that have not gone into effect." The two directly related to worker classification were regarding whether “certain distributors for a manufacturer’s food products are employees or independent contractors” and whether required implementation of safety measures for owner-operator tractor-trailer truck drivers resulted in a change in the drivers' independent contractor classification.
Moving across the pond, Britain’s highest court ruled today that Uber drivers must be classified as workers who are entitled to minimum wage and vacation time—benefits that at the time of suit, they had not been receiving. While we know that every country and in the case of worker classification, every state, has its own test to determine whether a worker is appropriately classified as an independent contractor or employee, this ruling brings the issue (again) to the forefront of companies' attention as more and more workers are entering the gig-economy and more companies are considering ways to take advantage of this growing group of potential workers.
To learn more about the differences between independent contractors and employees, as well as the different standards at a federal level and in many New England states, tune in to Verrill’s recent presentation entitled The Gig Economy – Independent Contractor or Employee and Why it Matters. Access the materials from this presentation, below: