As the economy continues to shift from a culture of full-time employment to an on-demand "gig" marketplace, the landscape of workers' rights is also changing. Working as an independent contractor rather than an employee allows a worker more flexibility and autonomy in their work schedule, among other things, but that may come at the cost of losing certain benefits. It's crucial to understand how the legal rights of workers who are considered "employees" are different from those who are considered independent contractors such as consultants, short-term contract workers, and freelancers.
On June 9, the long-awaited revised "fiduciary rule" from the U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") went into partial effect and will be in full force as of January 1, 2018. After nearly a decade, and much political wrangling, the updated rule ushers in sweeping changes regarding the duties and responsibilities financial advisors and others owe their clients.
President Trump's pick for Labor Secretary, Hardee's and Carl's Jr. CEO, Andrew Puzder, has come under attack by workers and their advocates since his nomination was first announced in December. Rightly so. Puzder's approach to doing business and his previous statements regarding key workplace issues paint a very worrisome picture regarding how workers will fare under his watch. Just ask the workers at his own company, who, in a report issued this week, describe a pattern of workplace violations, including being required to work sick and without pay, resulting from business decisions that appear to give low priority to workers' health and well-being.
President-elect Trump rode a wave of American worker discontent all the way to the White House. A frequent refrain during his boisterous campaign rallies was that a Trump presidency would "make America great again" by bringing back well-paying jobs.
The White House today issued a blockbuster set of changes to the overtime rules under the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) that will allow far more middle-class workers to earn time-and-a-half. The Final Rule doubles the standard salary floor for exempt workers, establishes automatic increases of that floor every three years, and sets a higher salary threshold for "highly compensated individuals" who are generally exempt under the 2004 rules.