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New rule lets companies treat some employees as gig workers

Samantha Fields Jan 7, 2021
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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An Uber Eats delivery worker rides an electric scooter in Manhattan in 2020. Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

New rule lets companies treat some employees as gig workers

Samantha Fields Jan 7, 2021
An Uber Eats delivery worker rides an electric scooter in Manhattan in 2020. Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

With less than two weeks left in the Trump administration, the Department of Labor just finalized a new rule that makes it easier for companies to treat workers as independent contractors.

It is set to go into effect in early March. 

Usually there are lots of benefits and protections that come with being an employee of a company rather than a gig worker, like being paid the minimum wage.

Employee benefits also include “overtime pay, all kinds of workers’ comp, access to health insurance,” said Rebecca Givan, a professor at Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations.

Givan added that the new rule would let companies like Uber, DoorDash and others reclassify large numbers of employees as independent contractors.

“It outsources a lot of the costs and the responsibilities onto the workers, it saves money and increases profit, and it denies those workers protections,” she said.

But, according to Givan, it is likely that the Biden administration will delay or roll back the rule. 

David Weil, who ran the Department of Labor’s wage and hour division under President Barack Obama, said that the issue is not going anywhere.

“The debate of who should be protected by our workplace laws is very much a debate we’re going to be having a lot of over the next few years,” he said.

And that debate will take place on both on the state and federal level. 

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