Bill ensures worker flexibility for independent contractors

A newly introduced bipartisan bill would create an independent job opportunity that combines flexibility and workplace protection for independent contractors. The bill, titled Worker Flexibility and Choice Act, is awaiting further legislation, as reported by Commercial Carrier Journal.

Representatives Henry Cuellar, Elise Stefanik, and Michelle Steele introduced the bipartisan bill.

“The classification of workers as employees or independent contractors is determined by various tests depending on the specific statute or federal agency and is further complicated by a patchwork of state and local standards,” said Cuellar and Stefanik in an additional document. “Recent policies across the country have placed overly broad restrictions on independent work that further diminish the ability of workers to choose the type of work that best fits their needs.”

Cuellar released a press release when the bill was originally introduced stating an independent contractor-employee work relationship would be defined through a “worker flexibility agreement,” agreed to before work begins, according to the press release.

The press release then included everything the bill would accomplish. It would allow workers access to any health, pension, or training benefits they’re eligible for; advocate for worker freedom while balancing workplace protections from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation; give workers the power to choose where, when, and for how long they provide their services; and permit workers to provide their services for more than one company at a time.

A worker flexibility agreement was also included in the bill. The agreement would be placed in priority over any federal, state, or local wage and hour or tax laws. This would prevent the worker from being categorized as an employee and allow owners who are leased to certain carriers to maintain those relationships. The agreement also clarifies that a worker would not be taxed as an employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

“The bipartisan Worker Flexibility and Choice Act will empower workers to choose the type of work that best fits their needs, while allowing businesses to offer workplace benefits traditionally only available to employees,” Stefanik said in a press release.

The bill has yet to receive any further legislation.