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Biden Nixes Trump-Era Rule Classifying Gig Workers as Contractors

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Joe Biden is seemingly laying the groundwork to move on a campaign promise to eventually have independent contractors and so-called “gig workers” classified as employees.

According to Fox Business:

The Biden administration is blocking a Trump-era regulation that would have made it easier to classify gig workers and others as independent contractors, a policy that had been sought by companies such as food-delivery and ride-sharing services.

Having status as an employee, rather than a contractor, means those workers are covered by federal minimum-wage and overtime laws. Employees are also better positioned than contractors to organize into labor unions. The Biden administration has made creating union jobs a priority.

Earlier this year, Uber Technologies Inc. applauded the Trump rule, saying it recognized the flexibility gig workers sought and called the previous regulation—which now is remaining in place—outdated. Trump administration officials said their rule made it easier for Americans to be self-employed and set their own hours.

he Trump rule, announced on Jan. 6, was to be implemented on March 8, but the Labor Department delayed it from going into effect until Friday, as part of President Biden’s broader freeze on pending regulations.

Biden nixing Trump’s rules simply bring us back to the prior status quo, at least for now. While the Labor Department’s Principal Deputy Administrator for the department’s Wage and Hour Division says that no future regulations are being planned, that seems unlikely, and comes in direct contrast to Biden’s statements on the campaign trail, where he campaigned in favor of making gig workers employees.

The then-Biden Campaign said they would work with Congress to establish a three pronged test for how to classify employees that was inspired by California’s gig worker law (that classified many of them as employees).

Biden’s Labor Secretary Marty Walsh has argued the same, telling Reuters last week “We are looking at it but in a lot of cases gig workers should be classified as employees… in some cases they are treated respectfully and in some cases they are not, and I think it has to be consistent across the board.”

We already know what will happen if something similar to California’s gig law is enacted nationally. As was noted in City Journal just a month after it took effect:

A limit on the number of articles that freelance writers could produce for one publication resulted in layoffs for some California journalists and a First Amendment lawsuit from others. Workers in more than 135 occupations claim that losing contractor status hurts them, while independent theater and arts groups are facing thousands of dollars in costs they can’t afford because they must now treat staff as employees. Lorena Gonzalez, the assemblywoman who wrote AB5, has introduced another law to remove the article cap for writers and address the status of musicians. A sign of poor legislation is the need to rewrite it immediately after it takes effect.

Implementing such a law nationally wouldn’t make any economic sense, but it would allow Biden to grant yet another giveaway to the unions.

Matt Palumbo is the author of Dumb and Dumber: How Cuomo and de Blasio Ruined New YorkDebunk This: Shattering Liberal Lies, and Spygate

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