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March 09, 2021
Trump Administration’s Independent Contractor Rule Delayed

by Tammy Binford

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The Biden administration’s U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced the independent contractor rule devised by the Trump administration’s DOL won’t go into effect as originally scheduled.

The rule, which was seen as making it easier for businesses to justify classifying workers as independent contractors, was slated to take effect on March 8. The date has now been delayed to May 7 “to allow the Department to review issues of law, policy, and fact raised by the rule before it takes effect,” according to the announcement to be published in the Federal Register.

Burton J. Fishman, an attorney with FortneyScott in Washington, D.C., says businesses should expect the rule to be modified along the lines of an opinion letter from the Obama administration. That letter “significantly narrows the definition of independent contractor,” Fishman says.

The comments on the rule “were so broad, numerous, and varied” that the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division could rewrite the regulation and still rely on the existing record, just differently interpreted, Fishman says. That would create a conflict with a different, contrary rule from the National Labor Relations Board on the same subject.

Tammy Binford writes and edits news alerts and newsletter articles on labor and employment law topics for BLR web and print publications.

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