29 CFR Parts 780, 788, and 795

NOTICE:  The “Independent Contractor Status Under the Fair Labor Standards Act” final rule was published at 86 FR 1168 on January 7, 2021, with an effective date of March 8, 2021. Consistent with the memorandum of January 20, 2021, from the Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, titled “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review,” the Department proposed to delay the rule’s effective date to May 7, 2021. See 86 FR 8326. On March 4, 2021, the Department issued a final rule delaying the effective date until May 7, 2021. See 86 FR 12535.

Independent Contractors

On January 6, 2021, the Department of Labor (Department) announced a final rule clarifying the standard for employee versus independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The effective date of the final rule is March 8, 2021.

In the final rule, the Department:

  • Reaffirms an “economic reality” test to determine whether an individual is in business for him or herself (independent contractor) or is economically dependent on a potential employer for work (FLSA employee).
  • Identifies and explains two “core factors” that are most probative to the question of whether a worker is economically dependent on someone else’s business or is in business for him or herself:
    • The nature and degree of control over the work.
    • The worker’s opportunity for profit or loss based on initiative and/or investment.
  • Identifies three other factors that may serve as additional guideposts in the analysis, particularly when the two core factors do not point to the same classification. The factors are:
    • The amount of skill required for the work.
    • The degree of permanence of the working relationship between the worker and the potential employer.
    • Whether the work is part of an integrated unit of production.
  • The actual practice of the worker and the potential employer is more relevant than what may be contractually or theoretically possible.
  • Provides six fact-specific examples applying the factors.

The final rule was published in the Federal Register on January 7, 2021.

Additional Information