Worker Classification and Amended Paid Sick Leave Law

The ‘Employee Rights Update’ provides our subscribers with timely educational information from recent cases and laws effecting California’s workplace.

Most Workers are Employees rather than Independent Contractors: Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a new “Administrator Interpretation” providing their opinion on how the Fair Labor Standards Act identifies workers as employees instead of independent contractors. See opinion.

This has been a hotly contested topic resulting in recent decisions classifying FedEx and Uber drivers as employees. The accurate classification of workers is critical for providing the legal protections that employees (instead of independent contractors) receive especially in industries with low wage workers.

Specifically, the DOL offered advice as to what must be considered when applying the economic factors in determining whether a worker is an employee. Some of these factors are the employer’s control over the worker, whether the work requires special skill (most likely a contractor), whether the worker’s managerial skill is involved (again, contractor), whether the relationship is permanent (employee), and whether the work performed is an integral part of the business (employee). However, the factors should not be analyzed on their own and no single factor, including the company’s control over the worker, should determine the exact classification. Rather, each factor must be taken into consideration when determining whether the worker is in business for him or herself (independent contractor) or is economically dependent on the company (employee). In conclusion, the DOL believes that these factors should be used as guides to arrive at an economic dependence realization.

California’s Paid Sick Leave Law Receives Clarification: On a more local front, California’s Governor just signed into law legislation that amends California’s recently enacted paid sick leave law. See amendments.
The legislative amendments are effective immediately, and helpful in understanding the nuances of the new requirements. One of these amendments clarifies that employees must work at least 30 days within one year from the beginning of their employment (for the same employer) to be eligible for paid sick leave benefits. Another clarifies that employees in the construction industry (and thus receiving certain protections) also include those who are not on site (such as those who are merely associated with the construction workers). Yet another amendment states that for those employees who terminated their employment but were rehired within one year, the paid sick leave does not have to be reinstated if it was already paid out upon termination of employment. See these other blogs for more employee rights information.

If you believe that you suffered an employment law matter related to your employee rights or know of possible worker (mis)classification or paid sick leave-related violations by your employer, prompt action to preserve your rights is critical. Contact the experienced employment law attorneys at Stephen Danz & Associates for a free consultation to discuss your circumstances and legal options.