Senior Editor, Digital Content, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
June 12, 2017
While the rest of Washington gets sucked into political circuses, Trump’s regulatory pullback continues:
The Labor Department rescinded both the joint employer interpretation and another that tilted how independent contractors and as employees would be classified with a presumption favoring employee status.
These “interpretations” along with “guidance documents, memoranda, bulletins, circulars, and letters” are dubbed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Clyde Wayne Crews, “regulatory dark matter,” because they are some of the ways federal agencies regulate businesses without going through the formal rulemaking process that includes public comments.
“This is welcome news for employers,” said Randel Johnson, U.S. Chamber Senior Vice President for Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits. “The interpretations were issued with no input from employers who would be subject to them. Under them, employers would have been left not knowing whether they had properly classified their workers, or whether they would be held accountable for another employer’s violations under the FLSA.”
They “were merely enforcement traps waiting to spring,”Johnson added.
There’s still a cloud hanging over the joint employer issue. While the Labor Department’s reversals are welcome, it doesn’t address the National Labor Relations Board’s 2015 ruling broadening the definition of a joint employer under the National Labor Relations Act, specifically for questions of union organizing. This upending of settled labor law has thrown the traditional franchise relationship into chaos and burdened small business franchise owners with higher costs and uncertainties.
Nevertheless, the Labor Department continues the Trump administration’s efforts at removing regulatory burdens on business.
About the authors
Sean writes about public policies affecting businesses including energy, health care, and regulations. When not battling those making it harder for free enterprise to succeed, he raves about all things Wisconsin (his home state) and religiously follows the Green Bay Packers.