Following the introduction of bipartisan legislation to create a “safe harbor” for independent contract workers in the sharing economy as we combat COVID-19, Republican Leader of the Committee on Education and Labor, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), issued this statement:
“As we continue to combat COVID-19 and businesses around the country struggle to remain solvent, workers continue to seek the flexibility and ability to earn an income on their own terms. Independent contracting provides an important source of income and entrepreneurial opportunity to millions of Americans. Unfortunately, under current law, businesses that provide additional relief like paid leave and other benefits to independent contractors during the COVID-19 pandemic could potentially trigger an employer-employee relationship under state or federal law, creating additional liabilities for the business and depriving workers of entrepreneurial opportunity.
“The legislation introduced today would allow businesses to protect independent contractors in the sharing economy during this unprecedented crisis without facing the additional costs which result from a traditional employer-employee relationship, while preserving the freedom and flexibility that the vast majority of independent contractors prefer.
“Job creators should be able to take common sense steps to protect independent contractors during the pandemic without facing additional, unwarranted burdens or undermining workers’ autonomy, and this legislation accomplishes this goal.”
BACKGROUND: Yesterday, Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) introduced a companion bill in the Senate. Both the House and Senate bills incorporate the safe harbor concept and related protections outlined by Education and Labor Committee Republicans in a blog post last month.