A Third Classification of Worker? Don’t Count On It

From TechCrunch, Connie Loizos responds to recent suggestions for developing a third classification of workers and suggests it may not be imminent.  Connie writes:

While some politicians are beginning to heed the call of some for a new solution — Senator Mark Warner, a former Virginia governor, has begun banging his drum over the issue – the reality, say these attorneys, is that “brighter line” guidelines regarding who is an independent contractor versus a full-time employee are far more likely to materialize, for a long list of reasons.

Just one of the challenges on the path to new regulations is the somewhat ambiguous need for a third way. According to a recent survey of 201 on-demand workers by the on-demand analytics platform SherpaShare, just 7 people – or 3.5 percent – said they’d prefer a new classification that both preserves the flexibility they currently enjoy while giving them some protections.

Even if more contract workers decide they want more out of their current situations, the creation of a third worker classification is all but impossible owing to the limited capacity of many legislators, says  Joseph Sellers, a partner at Cohen Milstein in Washington, D.C., who heads up the law firm’s employment practice group.

“With all due respect to legislators, I’m skeptical,” he says. “I think it will require a good deal of talking, and on more frequent occasions, to see the need for this kind of legislation. Efforts to enact some kind of quasi-employee status somewhere in the country wouldn’t surprise me. But I haven’t seen any evidence of it occurring.”

San Francisco-based employment and civil rights attorney Cliff Palefsky isn’t aware of any real movement toward a third classification, either.

While Palefsky notes that “people are discussing this Uber case” — referring to the California Labor Commissioner’s recent ruling that an Uber driver should be classified as an employee and not an independent contractor —  he says he has “never heard of a third category or know what it would mean. It would require changing ERISA laws [among a host of others], which would be really, really complicated.”

Read the full story at A Third Classification of Worker? Don’t Count On It 

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