Rep. Allen Defends Independent Contractors
WASHINGTON – Last week, Congressman Rick W. Allen (GA-12) participated in a media call organized by the Independent Women’s Forum about the Department of Labor’s proposed rule to strip flexibilities currently enjoyed by millions of independent contractors by reclassifying them as traditional employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
“As my colleagues have noted, independent contractors are under attack from Biden’s Department of Labor. This is nothing new: we had the same challenge under the last term of the Obama administration when I was first elected to Congress.”
Allen said the proposed rule issued this past year would be devastating for the 60+ million Americans whose livelihoods depend on the flexibilities that being an independent contractor provides.
“I have heard from folks in my district about this proposed rule that will negatively impact their businesses. I have been at the forefront on this issue and worked handin hand with Senator Tim Scott to advance the Employee Rights Act, legislation we introduced in our respective chambers. Our bill protects independent contractors, franchisees, entrepreneurs, and anyone seeking flexible work options,” the Congressman said.
Among its many provisions, the Employee Rights Act would codify the common law definition of an employee, allowing independent contractors to keep the flexibilities they currently enjoy.
Allen noted that he sent a letter to Labor Secretary Marty Walsh this summer, urging him “in no uncertain terms” to uphold the rule issued during the Trump administration which specifically protects the flexibilities that independent contractors want and need.
“If you aren’t an independent contractor, you may wonder why this is such a big deal. Let me tell you why. If the Biden administration succeeds in scrapping the independent contractor model, we'd be giving the federal government authority to dictate how Americans earn their living. Or, at the very least, we'd be allowing the government to eliminate a perfectly valid career path that's lifted millions of people out of poverty, grown wealth substantially in this country and helped them accomplish the American dream,” Allen emphasized.
The Congressman said the modern workforce is entrepreneurial, and our government should facilitate that spirit, not crush it under the weight of bureaucracy. “Yet that’s exactly what this administration and Congressional Democrats have tried to do through rulemaking and the PRO Act.”
Among other harmful provisions, the PRO Act would significantly narrow the definition of an independent contractor, essentially eliminating independent contractor status.
Rep. Allen stressed, “Since they couldn’t pass this bill through Congress, Biden is weaponizing the Department of Labor to circumvent the legislative process altogether.”