CHN: Advocates Oppose Proposed Rule That Could Harm Millions of Workers

Tens of thousands of advocates submitted comments urging the U.S. Department of Labor to reject a proposed change that would make it easier for employers to classify workers as independent contractors. Proposed by the Trump Administration, the rule would give employers and corporations far more leeway in classifying workers as independent contractors instead of employees, allowing them to pay subminimum wages, hire child labor, avoid overtime pay, withhold health benefits, and undermine other labor protections. Millions of workers could be affected. It would also allow employers to avoid paying into Social Security and Medicare for these workers. Advocates say the rule ignores the language of the Fair Labor Standards Act and decades of court rulings, including by the U.S. Supreme Court. CHN joined with members the Economic Policy Institute, the National Employment Law Project, and others in opposing the proposed rule. Public comments on this rule are being accepted by the Department of Labor through 11:50pm ET on Oct. 26.

According to the New York Times, the Trump Administration is preparing to finalize numerous regulatory changes before Jan. 20 and is taking steps such as, “limiting or sidestepping requirements for public comment on some of the changes and swatting aside critics who say the administration has failed to carry out sufficiently rigorous analysis.”

If there is a change in control of the White House and the Senate after the upcoming election, the next Congress could more easily attempt to overturn some of the regulations put in to place in what would be the final days of the Trump Administration. Under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), Congress has 60 legislative days to review and override certain new regulations issued by federal agencies, with only a simple majority vote in the Senate and presidential approval. If a rule is overturned, the CRA also prevents agencies from enacting similar regulations again in the future unless specifically authorized by a subsequent law. The CRA was used by Congress and President Trump in 2017 to overturn several regulations put into place in the last few months of the Obama Administration.