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NRF welcomes DOL rules clarifying independent contractor status

WASHINGTON – The National Retail Federation welcomed regulations issued by the Department of Labor today that clearly define the difference between workers who must be considered employees and those who can be classified as independent contractors.

“These rules provide much-needed legal certainty for employers, employees and independent contractors nationwide,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said. “The complexities of the modern workplace, especially when combined with substantial ongoing technological changes, demand absolute clarity in this important area of employment law.”

“Millions of workers enjoy the freedom and flexibility that independent contractor status provides them,” French said. “Unfortunately, some state legislatures have imposed burdensome new regulatory regimes on these workers with predictably disastrous results. American businesses must be able to engage with these contractors without fear of frivolous litigation. These rules will allow them to do that and will support retailers’ efforts to spur job creation.”

DOL today issued the final version of regulations that create a modern “economic reality” test to determine whether a worker is an employee covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act and its requirements for minimum wage and overtime or an independent contractor exempt from those requirements. Under the regulations, the determination will be based on two main factors – the nature and degree of the worker’s control over the work and the worker’s opportunity for profit or loss based on initiative or investment.

NRF has led retailers’ efforts to clarify the status of independent contractors. Among other actions, NRF last year filed two legal briefs asking courts to overturn a California worker classification law that narrowed the circumstances under which an individual can work as a contractor, including one case in federal court involving truck drivers and another in state court involving ride share drivers.

About NRF
The National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, passionately advocates for the people, brands, policies and ideas that help retail thrive. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., NRF empowers the industry that powers the economy. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, contributing $3.9 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 52 million working Americans. For over a century, NRF has been a voice for every retailer and every retail job, educating, inspiring and communicating the powerful impact retail has on local communities and global economies.

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