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Biden Administration Rolls Out New Worker Protections

Last week, the Biden Administration’s Department of Labor issued a final rule that will reclassify some workers currently classified as “independent contractors” as employees. This rule will likely affect workers in the “gig economy,” such as truck drivers, food delivery workers, in-home healthcare workers, and some manufacturing workers.

The rule will replace a Trump-era version that classified these workers as “economically independent,” allowing businesses to withhold compensation such as health insurance and overtime pay, and serving as a barrier to union membership. “Misclassifying employees as independent contractors is a serious issue that deprives workers of basic rights and protections,” Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su said in a statement. “This rule will help protect workers, especially those facing the greatest risk of exploitation, by making sure they are classified properly and that they receive the wages they’ve earned.”

This rule follows a new National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rule set to take effect in February that will make it harder for companies to use subcontractors to prevent workers from joining unions. The Republican-led House of Representatives has passed a resolution to overturn the NLRB rule, but President Biden has vowed to veto any attempt to interfere with workers’ rights to bargain for better working conditions.


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