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Why Women Need the U.S. Department of Labor’s Independent Contractor Rule MARCH 2024




Note from REAL Women in Trucking: The Department of Labor Independent Contractor Rule will not affect true independent contractors. It is important for truck drivers to understand this new rule. A fearmongering campaign launched by trucking lobby associations will claim that this rule harms single mothers. This fact sheet from the National Partnership for Women & Families and the National Women's Law Center aims to clarify how women are affected by misclassification.

It is our position here at RWIT that truck drivers who work for lease-purchase "sharecropper" student fleets are not independent contractors. This has been settled in numerous court cases against companies like Prime, CRST, and so many others. Truck drivers are currently exempt from FLSA. RWIT aims to be part of the generation of truck drivers that repeals this exemption. In order to achieve this, we need our fellow drivers to start educating themselves on this issue and understand how the industry lobby associations are twisting the narrative to keep you confused and scared so that you will keep thigs the way they are. We hope you will read this fact sheet and educate yourself on this rule so that you are more informed and can help others become more informed. The PDF is available for download by clicking the banner images in this post or this link:



EXCERPTS FROM THE FACT SHEET:


The Department of Labor Independent Contractor Rule will not affect true independent contractors. DOL’s longstanding analysis for whether someone is an independent contractor is whether the individual is in fact in business for themselves. This final rule reinstates this common sense test and does not prevent true independent contractors and entrepreneurs—including women—from running their own businesses. Rather, it restores the well-established analysis DOL and the courts have used for decades. People who were running their own businesses prior to the short-lived Trump-era rule remain independent contractors under the Rule. Women and workers of color have been shortchanged for too long. DOL’s final rule clarifies workers’ access to their FLSA rights and protections. It primarily affects low-paid workers in industries where misclassification is prevalent. Policy makers should take the necessary steps to ensure women, workers of color and other misclassified employees receive their wages and rights as supported by this final rule.


The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protects the most basic rights of many workers in the U.S. These include the right to be paid at least the federal minimum wage and to be paid time and a half when they work more than 40 hours in a week. The FLSA also contains provisions ensuring that women are paid and treated equally at work, including protections against pay discrimination and rights to accommodations for breastfeeding workers. The FLSA provides these rights only for workers considered employees under the law. The Department of Labor’s (DOL) final rule on how to determine who is an employee or an independent contractor under the FLSA went into effect on March 11, 2024.1 The rule simply reinstates a long-standing test for determining who is an employee, thereby restoring protections the Trump administration had reduced. By ensuring that workers who are employees are correctly identified as such, the rule will help combat abusive employer misclassification practices, such as when an employer incorrectly categorizes an employee as an independent contractor.2 Misclassifying workers obstructs their access to basic workplace rights and protections provided under the FLSA and can leave workers without recourse for minimum wage or overtime violations. Moreover, misclassification of workers as independent contractors deprives many women of critically important protections for equal pay and accommodations for breastfeeding.


DOL’s rule will reduce misclassification, which particularly harms women and people of color. Combatting misclassification by clarifying the scope of the FLSA’s protections is a racial and gender justice issue. Misclassification is rampant in low-paid, labor-intensive industries, such as delivery services, janitorial services, agriculture, trucking and home care, as well as in app-dispatched work. Women and people of color, including Black, Latinx, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) and Native workers, are overrepresented in these occupations, as they are in low-paid jobs more broadly. This is due to many factors, including that for much of our nation’s history, women’s work has been devalued, with women being paid lower wages and receiving fewer opportunities. Entrenched racism and sexism have also resulted in this occupational segregation along racial and ethnic lines, leading to women and people of color not only being overrepresented in jobs with poorer wages and working conditions, but also having little or no access to benefits that support working families.




These are common occupations in industries that have been recognized by DOL as lowpaid and where non-compliance with the FLSA – typically in the form of wage theft – is prevalent. Wage theft further exacerbates the impacts of other workplace inequities women face, including discrimination, occupational segregation and the gender wage gap. Workers who are misclassified are not covered by the FLSA’s protections for minimum wage and overtime, leaving these workers without basic protections to ensure adequate compensation. Misclassification can also deny women rights to equal pay and accommodations for breastfeeding under the PUMP Act.


Independent contractor misclassification by companies is also strikingly racialized, occurring disproportionately in occupations in which people of color, including Black, Latinx and Asian workers, are overrepresented. Because independent contractor misclassification often leaves workers without a remedy for wage theft or underpayment, it perpetuates racial income and wealth inequality, as well as health disparities in the U.S.


Remember, The DOL’s rule won’t affect true independent contractors.

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I'm a woman driver and I find it unbelievable how much B.S. I have to put up with ..we have rights too!

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