On January 10th, the United States Department of Labor announced its final rule to prevent the misclassification of workers as independent contractors, marking a significant shift from the rules established during the Trump era. Practical from March 11th, the measure aims to reduce the risk of misclassifying employees.
However, the trucking industry, represented by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), has expressed concerns. While OOIDA President Todd Spencer supports the Department´s intention to follow long-standing practices, he also highlights that these rules could hinder entrepreneurship, especially for those looking to start businesses in the trucking industry.
The rule, differing from California´s controversial ABC Test, relies on a multifactor economic reality test that analyzes six key factors. These factors include the opportunity for profit, investments, control, and the nature of the work performed.
In contrast, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) strongly criticize the rule, labeling it as un-American and restricting freedom of labor choice. According to ATA, over 350,000 truckers choose to work as independent contractors for the economic opportunity and flexibility it provides.
Meanwhile, the White House confirmed the new nomination of Julie Su as the Secretary of the DOL, an appointment that raised uncertainty and previous legal challenges. This regulatory change raises significant questions about the future employment of drivers in California and the flexibility the new regime will offer.
Although most employees and advocacy groups support the Department of Labor´s proposal, the trucking industry in California and across the United States is at a crucial moment. The flexibility and autonomy of owner-operators are at stake, and the sector is keenly observing how these rules will evolve in the coming months.
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