DOL nears rollback of Trump-era independent contractor classification rule

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Trucking news and briefs for Monday, Oct. 9, 2023:

Biden’s DOL takes another step toward rescinding Trump-era independent contractor rule

A Department of Labor rulemaking to rescind a Trump-era rule for determining employee or independent contractor classification under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has taken another step toward being implemented.

The Biden Administration’s DOL last October published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would reverse one of President Donald Trump's last acts in office by returning to the department's prior analysis for worker classification under FLSA. The full text of the NPRM can be seen here.

On Sept. 28, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) received the final rule, which if cleared by OMB, will be published in the Federal Register to take effect. OMB typically has 90 days to review the rule, but that review period can be extended.

The Trump-era rule, which was one of the last acts of the former president’s administration, had a test to determine if a worker was independent or an employee that relied on five factors, but put greater emphasis on two -- the nature and degree of the worker’s control over the work and the worker’s opportunity for profit or loss.

The other factors include: the amount of skill required for the work; the degree of permanence of the working relationship between the worker and the potential employer; and whether the work is part of an integrated unit of production.

That rule took effect in March 2022, following a court ruling striking down the Biden DOL's withdrawal of the rule a year earlier. 

Biden’s DOL said that the 2021 rule, which made it slightly easier to classify workers as contractors, was "out of sync with what courts have been saying for decades," and it hoped returning to the prior analysis for classification determination would clear up "confusion" among businesses and workers and hopefully see more low-wage workers receive benefits and overtime pay as is required by the FLSA. 

The previous test, which DOL now hopes to restore, has six factors all weighted equally in what it calls "a totality-of-the circumstances analysis" which considers the worker's "economic reality."

TCA accepting Fleet Safety Award applications

The Truckload Carriers Association is fielding applications for its 2023 Fleet Safety Awards program, which recognizes three carriers in each of six mileage-based divisions for their safety programs and culture.

The application period is open here through Nov. 10.

Winners are selected based on their accident ratios in any given year. Division winners are subject to an audit for ratio accuracy and invited to compete for one of two grand prizes: Carriers with annual mileage of 25 million or fewer miles vie for one, while companies with more than 25 million miles compete for the other.

The grand prize winners will be announced at TCA’s 2024 Annual Convention in Nashville, March 23-26.

Averitt donates $35K to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Averitt Cares for Kids trailerAveritt Express donated $35,000 to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to aid the fight against childhood cancers.Averitt ExpressAveritt Express (CCJ Top 250, No. 22) recently hosted a record number of associates, family members and friends as part of its annual softball tournament at Cookeville’s Cane Creek SportsPlex, which resulted in a sizable donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

More than 1,350 people attended the Averitt Cares for Kids Family Softball Tournament, which was held for the first time in Cookeville, Tennessee, home of Averitt’s headquarters. The tournament is named in part as recognition of Averitt’s associate-driven charitable program, which helps support the good works of St. Jude.

Drivers, dock associates and other employees came to Cookeville from across Averitt’s network â€“ from Laredo, Texas, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Fort Myers, Florida, and everywhere in between. In honor of that record attendance, Averitt donated $35,000 to aid the fight against childhood cancers.

“The Averitt Cares for Kids Family Softball Tournament was an incredible day for our entire team,” said Averitt President and Chief Operating Officer Barry Blakely. â€śWe were thrilled with the positive feedback we received from everyone who attended, and we look forward to making this an even bigger event in the future.”