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DOL Withdraws from Prior Administrations Contractor Interpretation

Jim Fausone, Esq.

In a press release earlier this month, the Department of Labor announced its removal from their 2015 and 2016 administrator's interpretations, effect immediately.

The Administrator's interpretations are broad announcements of the agency views on specific issues. In 2015, the interpretation addressed Independent Contractors and protected workers by making it more; difficult to consider a worker an Independent Contractor instead of considering them employees, which helps them gain benefits and overtime. In 2016, the interpretation addressed joint employment and affirmed that businesses must pay all of their employees, even those with disabilities, at least the federal minimum wage.

These interpretations were criticized by businesses that believed the guidance promoted a pro-worker agenda, as well as went against case law, statutes, and regulations. With the withdrawal from the administrator's interpretations, the federal employment laws are beginning to take a more "business friendly" approach.

According to the press release, the removal "does not change the legal responsibilities of employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Workers Protection Act." These acts enforce the federal minimum wage and provide protection for migrant and seasonal agricultural workers by establishing employment standards related to wages, transportation, disclosures, and recordkeeping.

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