What if There Were a New Type of Worker? Dependent Contractor

Wall Street Journal

From the Wall Street Journal,  Lauren Weber discusses the possibility of creating a “dependent contractor” classification for workers who find their assignments on-line or through their phone apps.  She reports that some legal scholars support the concept.  She writes:

“Some people are clearly independent contractors and some are clearly employees, but a third category becomes necessary when you have people who are borderline” and economically dependent on one employer, says Wilma Liebman, a former chairwoman of the National Labor Relations Board and an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law.

She suggested the dependent contractor classification in a dissenting opinion she wrote in 2005 in a case about newspaper carriers. In that opinion, she noted that Canada and Germany have statutes protecting such workers.

Yet that idea has never caught on because regulators have been more focused on “low-hanging fruit” issues such as wage theft and more egregious labor-law violations, says Jeffrey Hirsch, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law.

Adding a dependent-contractor status to current labor regulations would have wide-ranging effects, involving agencies such as the Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service, Mr. Hirsch adds.

Employers would need explicit guidance about which protections would be extended from the patchwork of laws that currently govern employment—from the right to unionize, to minimum-wage and overtime eligibility under the Fair Labor Standards Act, to Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules and antidiscrimination statutes….”

Read the full story at What if There Were a New Type of Worker? Dependent Contractor 

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