Joint employer rules may change soon

When two companies share control over a worker, they are considered joint employers. The Department of Labor is proposing new rules to determine if joint employer status is proper. To determine if this is the case, New York companies would have to answer a series of questions. Among those questions is who has the right to hire or terminate an employee and who pays the employee and when.

In 1958, the joint employer standard was first implemented. It says that the companies must have direct control over an employee, and that standard was largely unchanged until 2015. At that time, the National Labor Relations Board said that it would look at other factors in cases involving contractors and subcontractors. The International Franchise Association claimed that it could cause independent franchises to be placed in the middle of national disputes with unions. Ultimately, the change could have impacted the owner's ability to exercise control over how much workers were paid among other issues.

The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council is among the groups that are in favor of the DOL proposal. A public comment period will run until June 10, and that is the earliest that the proposal could become a formal rule. It is one of many rules established during the Obama administration that President Trump has wanted to change.

Those who have union representation may have protections that are not afforded other employees. For instance, they may be entitled to an hourly wage or other benefits obtained through direct negotiations. If a union worker's rights are infringed upon, it may be possible to file a lawsuit or take other action against an employer. Workers may find assistance from a union representative or from an employment law attorney.

Source: Times Union, "Labor Dept proposes new rules on joint employer standard", Joyce Rosenberg, 04/08/2019

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