As the cost of living in the United States rises, over a quarter of the population is considering picking up a second job to make ends meet.
The Department of Labor, under President Joe Biden, is attempting to make it more difficult for small business owners to operate lawfully as independent contractors.
The Labor Department stated for the second time in less than a year that it intends to rescind a Trump-era rule.
This rule offers a clear, straightforward definition of who may lawfully qualify as an independent worker under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
In the contemporary world of the gig market, the timing of this time reversal couldn’t have been worse.
In June, the Labor Department held public forums to get “perspectives” from workers and companies affected by workers or autonomous classified status. This was done to counteract unfavorable court rulings and legitimize the end of freelancing.
The Trump administration was fantastic.
It found the sweet spot, offering an economic model test that gave independent contractors the freedom to run their own careers and enterprises with the transparency they needed to engage in valid contracting arrangements.
According to Upwork, more than 59 million Americans will choose freelance work in 2021. More than 85 percent of contract workers prefer self-employment to a traditional employer-employee arrangement.
— Kim Kavin (@thekimkavin) July 9, 2022
Using regulatory loopholes, however, Biden and his big labor partners are assaulting the livelihoods of freelancers.
Biden’s Labor Department is trying to implement the one-size-fits-all system of California’s catastrophic Assembly Bill 5, which says the vast majority of contract workers should be considered W-2 employees.
This is not possible.
Since its implementation in 2020, A.B. 5 has devastated the livelihoods of hundreds or even thousands of independent businesspeople in California, beginning with independent writers until a special exemption was made for them.
Whereas if freelance journalists need special permission to do well, you should question whether any other freelance jobs can work.
The PRO Act
One such occupation is truck driving.
More than 70,000 freelance owner-operator truckers are presently awaiting word on whether the Supreme Court will consider their appeal against A.B. 5.
If not, California’s freelance truckers will cease to exist. This will undoubtedly wreak havoc on an already troubled supply chain.
On the other hand, app-based transportation and delivery companies are fighting to keep their exemption from AB 5 after an Alameda County court ruled that a voter-approved plan to help them was unconstitutional.
The ABC exam for contract employees in California was also included in the Biden-backed PRO Act, which cleared the U.S. House of Reps in March 2021, but remains stuck in the Senate.
The PRO Act would make the whole country as unstable as California’s AB 5.
Given the Biden presidency’s virulent anti-freelancer position, it seems probable the decision of the Labor Department’s hearing forums is predetermined.
Nevertheless, freelancing movement activists are rallying. Fight For Contractors USA and other grassroots freelancing groups are sounding the alarm with a marketing campaign called #WhatTheHellDOL.
Same. I can’t work full time, and part time jobs with decent pay aren’t readily available. As a freelancer, I can work on my own schedule and ask a much higher hourly rate. @USDOL why do you want to destroy my livelihood? I am not a gig worker. #WhatTheHellDOL https://t.co/7o5hRlzZRF
— GiantMeteor2024 🧐🤔🤨 ☄️ (@eurekaskastle) July 8, 2022
The campaign encourages all types of contract workers to share with the DOL and on media platforms why self-employment is crucial to their livelihood.
“When the Labor Department asserts the majority of us have defected and required W-2 employment to live, we respond, “What the heck, DOL?”
Freelance reporters who want an exemption, know what they wish to do and for whom they wish to work.