New York City’s Earned Safe and Sick Time Act (ESSTA or Act) provides covered employees with the right to use safe and sick leave as it accrues for a delineated list of circumstances. On Aug. 11, 2022, the New York City Council introduced a proposal to amend the ESSTA’s definition of “employee.” Under this proposal, certain independent contractors would qualify as employees and receive benefit coverage under the Act. The proposal would require hiring entities to engage in detailed analyses of individuals providing services to determine wither they are independent contractors or employees.
On Oct. 11, 2022, the U.S. DOL of Labor (DOL) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would revise the analysis for determining independent contractor status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The proposed standard would rescind the current rule that has been in effect since March 8, 2021.
The First Department of the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, in a matter of first impression, interpreted New York City’s Freelance Isn’t Free Act (FIFA) in the context of a motion to dismiss (Chen v. Romona Keveza Collection LLC). The Plaintiffs (a photographer and a model), sought to recover payments for services rendered to the Defendant (a high-end luxury fashion brand), claiming the defendant violated FIFA by improperly withholding payments. The Appellate Division ruled that an individual’s representation by an agency or agent does not necessarily disqualify the worker from FIFA’s freelance worker protections.
On March 15, 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued a new directive addressing pay equity audits. The new Directive 2022-01 sets forth what OFCCP views as its apparent authority to obtain access to and review federal contractors’ pay equity audits that are conducted in connection with contractors’ compliance mandates.
On Oct. 28, 2021, Gov. Hochul signed legislation that significantly expands the scope of New York Labor Law Section 740 (NYLL 740), the state’s “whistleblower” protection law covering all private sector employees. Most notably, beginning in January 2022, employees and independent contractors will be protected for reporting employer activity that they reasonably believe violates any law, regardless of whether the law relates to public safety or whether the activity was an actual violation.
On May 6, the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) withdrew its final regulations that would have revised the standard for determining whether a worker is an employee covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or an independent contractor who is not subject to the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements. According to the USDOL, the independent contractor rule that was withdrawn “is inconsistent with the FLSA’s text and purpose, and would have a confusing and disruptive effect on workers and businesses alike due to its departure from longstanding judicial precedent.”
On Jan. 7, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published its final rule to revise and update its regulations regarding classification of employees vs. independent contractors. This determination of independent contractor status is critical to wage liability, as employees are generally guaranteed minimum wage and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act—absent some exemption—while independent contractors are not.
In what will surely be an important decision for “gig” economy businesses, the Third Department recently upheld two decisions of the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board finding that Uber is an employer and therefore required to make unemployment insurance contributions.1
On September 22, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) issued proposed regulations regarding the determination of whether an individual is an employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or an independent contractor who is not subject to the FLSA's minimum wage and overtime requirements. The proposed regulations are expected to be published in the Federal Register on September 25, and comments can be submitted for 30 days after publication. If the proposed regulations are adopted, it will likely be easier for businesses to classify employees as independent contractors under the FLSA.
On January 25, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board issued a decision clarifying the test for determining whether workers are independent contractors or employees. In SuperShuttle DFW, Inc., the Board reversed its 2014 decision in FedEx Home Delivery where it revised the traditional common-law test for determining whether workers are employees or independent contractors. Prior to 2014, the test analyzed whether common-law factors set forth by the Supreme Court showed that the workers had significant entrepreneurial opportunity for gain or loss.