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Meet the new boss, same as the old boss: the new old independent contractor rules

The new U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) independent contractor regulations, effective March 11, 2024, replace a previous set of regulations issued under the Trump Administration in 2021; however, the new rule is not actually new and merely codifies the economic reality test that courts have used since the 1940s. The 2021 regulation made it easier for employers to classify their workers as independent contractors and avoid having to comply with federal wage and hour laws. The new rule restores federal wage and hour protections to workers who may have been excluded under the 2021 rule – mainly temporary workers.

The new regulations face a number of challenges, both resulting from court proceedings and possible legislative actions. Time will tell whether the regulations will survive, but at least for now they are in force.

Background