what's the war on 1099 gig workers'? department of labor working to reclassify snn 1099 contractors into w2 employees. what your need to know.

New Rules, New Game: What Gig Workers Need to Know

Navigating New Terrain:
How the Latest Contractor Rules Impact Gig Workers & Self-Employed Professionals

The New Rules Upend Contract Work – But Is Change Inevitable?

As the gig economy burgeons, the role of independent contractors in the workforce has never been more pivotal. Yet, with the Department of Labor’s enforcement of new independent contractor guidelines in March 2023, a wave of change is imminent. This shift raises critical questions about the future of contract work and its regulation.

As the March 2023 enforcement date for the Department of Labor’s stricter independent contractor guidelines looms, many employers and contractors alike are left wondering how to respond. Proponents argue the “economic realities” test protects workers from misclassification. But others see it as governmental overreach that will disrupt business models and flexibility.

With contradictory rules now spanning state and federal levels, navigating proper categorization is murkier than ever. As classifications are reconsidered, what recourse do contractors and companies have?

Learn How You Can Avoid The DOL Reclassification Rule Before It Affects You!

Pros and Cons of the New Guidelines:

PRO: Clear Standards

Definitive guidelines aim to curb abuse of contractor status to deny legally mandated protections. Ambiguous definitions previously left room for exploitation, with companies passing workers’ costs onto the public. Stricter scrutiny prevents illegitimate contractor labels that denied benefits and minimum wage.

CON: Loss of Autonomy

Many independent contractors prefer non-employee roles permitting full control over schedules and work methods. Reclassification could force unwanted oversight or even employment termination. While protecting some, new constraints threaten contractors’ freedoms and opportunities for independent self-employment or side gigs.

PRO: Fairness for All

Consistent application of employment law maintains a level playing field. Fissured workplaces using legal loopholes undercut ethical businesses properly classifying similar workers as employees. As the on-demand economy keeps expanding roles, clarified distinctions establish protections wrongly denied to mislabeled groups.

CON: Stifles Business Innovation

Emerging company models thrived by cultivating contractor flexibility. Strict rules may disrupt innovators seeking alternative solutions beyond traditional employment. On platforms facilitating diverse services, one-size-fits-all status determination lacks nuance for specialized roles. Prescriptive standards risk stalling novel, tech-enabled work arrangements.

get ahead of the contractor reclassification dol ruling

Navigating the New Landscape:

Given these complex trade-offs, what actions can contractors and businesses reasonably take? While lawsuits may prove fruitless against well-established regulations, staying informed allows properly configuring roles to demonstrate true independence.

Contractors can invest in their brand, obtain proper licenses demonstrating expertise, work flexible hours and for several clients. Companies should provide contracts specifying independence while avoiding behavioral control. With care and compliance, non-employee work status may still prevail for legitimate solopreneurs and specialized services.

While political solutions seem unrealistic, a measured, good-faith approach on all sides prevents unintended damage while upholding protections. By understanding each other’s perspectives, opportunities remain for sustaining contractors’ autonomy within supportive frameworks balancing workers’ rights with business flexibility. With open dialogue and compromise, win-win solutions can be crafted.

The Powers of the States: What Authority Lies in State Hands Regarding Worker Classification

States can make their own laws regarding worker classification and independent contractor standards. However, they must comply with certain federal rules and regulations. Here are a few key points:

States have flexibility to establish their own definitions and tests for determining employee vs. independent contractor status under state law. This can differ from the IRS or DOL federal standards.

State worker classification laws cannot override federal law. If state law is more lax than federal rules, federal law will take precedence in matters involving federal labor laws like FLSA, FMLA, etc.

However, if a state law provides more stringent or protective standards for employees, it can co-exist alongside federal law. Workers would be entitled to the more advantageous protections in that case.

Several states like California, Massachusetts and New Jersey have recently passed stricter ABC tests for contractors that differ substantially from federal guidelines.

Companies must comply with both state and federal classification requirements across jurisdictions they operate in. Proper classification can require analyzing applicable state and federal standards.

Businesses with mobile or remote workers may need to consider worker classification protocols in multiple different states where services are provided.

So in summary – states do have authority to set their own standards within certain parameters, but must still ensure compliance with federal labor law minimums. Consistency across jurisdictions adds complexity for employers.

Independent Contractor Status Under the Fair Labor Standards Act – Final Ruling

Knowing the Difference of W2 & 1099

Here is a simplified explanation of the differences between employees and independent contractors based on the article:

The US Department of Labor and IRS have different tests to determine if someone is an employee or independent contractor. This can be confusing for employers with workers in multiple states.

An employee has a permanent job with set hours and responsibilities overseen by their employer. They are owed minimum wage, overtime pay, breaks, unemployment insurance, workplace protections, and more.

An independent contractor is hired temporarily to complete a specific task or project. They have more freedom and flexibility over how and when the work gets done. They provide their own tools/equipment and pay self-employment taxes.

Some Key Factors that Suggest Someone is an Employee Include:

The employer sets their schedule and supervises their work
The work is core to the employer’s business
They have been working there long-term
They rely on the employer for most or all of their income
Factors that point to independent contractor status include:

They can make business decisions that impact their profits/losses
They perform projects/tasks that require specific skills
They work for multiple clients, not just one employer
The best practice is only classifying true independent/contract work as 1099, not ongoing jobs that look more like traditional employment. Employers should carefully evaluate each worker based on both the DOL and IRS tests to ensure proper classification.

Examples of Independent Contractor Tasks:

Website design/development
Accounting/bookkeeping services
Legal consulting
Graphic design work
IT troubleshooting/ repairs
Photography/videography jobs
Freelance writing/editing
Tutoring/private lessons
Consultations/training sessions

Consequences of Misclassification:

Backpay of taxes/benefits for misclassified employees
Penalties/fines by DOL or IRS of $1,100-$5,500 per violation
Lawsuits from workers seeking wages/benefits owed
Joint liability for employment law violations

Economic Dependence & Control:

Economic dependence considers if work makes up significant portion of individual’s business activity and income source
Control looks at direction over meaningful aspects like how tasks are completed, not just final outputs
True independent contractors have higher autonomy over how they operate versus being controlled by one employer’s needs
Challenges for Employers:

Determining if workers are performing routine tasks integral to core business
Assessing level of independence if work schedules are irregular or hours are variable week to week
Options are limited if true autonomy can’t be demonstrated
Platform-based businesses rely on standardized services posing risk
Additional Industry Impact Resources:

IFA studies effects on professional services like marketing/PR: https://www.industryforum.co.uk/news/independent-contractors-the-changing-landscape-of-self-employment-in-professional-services/

Blog discusses healthcare staffing agency challenges: https://www.healthcaresource.com/blog/independent-contractor-rules-and-healthcare-staffing/

The Economic Reality Test:

Looks at the entire relationship between worker and company from an objective standpoint
Considers 6 factors related to economic dependence and control, with no single factor being decisive
Tests whether, as a matter of economic reality, the individual is economically dependent on the employer like an employee

Reasons for Updating:

Previous test was vague and led to misclassification problems/lawsuits
On-demand/gig economy emergence created confusion over non-traditional roles
Stricter rules aim to curb employers mislabeling employees as contractors to avoid legal obligations

Ways for Employers to Properly Classify:

Review each job function based on guidelines
Issue 1099-NEC forms to independent contractors
Have contractors sign a valid written agreement
Don’t set mandatory schedules/methods
Allow contractors to provide services to multiple clients
Document analysis and conclusions
Seek legal counsel if unsure of proper status
Re-evaluate classifications annually

Proper classification is important for employer compliance and to avoid penalties. Taking care to analyze each role individually can help ensure workers are enjoying all applicable protections and benefits.

Industries Most Affected:

Real estate brokers – often incorrectly classified as contractors
Insurance brokers – same issue as above
Rideshare/delivery drivers – gig jobs now facing reclassification
Construction subcontractors – may need to be reevaluated
Massage therapists – often 1099 but could qualify as employees
Community managers – ongoing work looks more like employment

Specific Guidelines for IC & Gig Worker Classification:

The contractor must be free from control/direction over performance
The work done must be outside the usual business operations
The contractor’s business/skills must be established before the work begins
The relationship should not be permanent/exclusive
The contractor must have an opportunity for profit/loss
1099-NEC is for non-employee compensation like contracting work. It is submitted to report payments to individuals not classified as employees.

W-2 is used to report wages, withholdings, and taxes for workers classified as employees. It includes data like Social Security and Medicare taxes.

Resources for employers:

IRS publication 1779 on worker classification
DOL website resources and fact sheets
Use free online tools like ELA’s worker classification wizard
Consult with an employment law attorney for specific scenarios
Reach out to state labor department for state-specific guidance
Proactively reviewing classifications regularly can help ensure compliance and avoid issues down the road as laws continue to evolve.

IRS Classification Test:

The IRS primarily looks at whether the business has the right to direct/control how the work is done, or only controls the final result. Key factors include:

Behavioral control- if they control how/when work is done
Financial control- how expenses/liabilities are handled
Relationship type- full-time, on ongoing basis, etc.
Penalties for Misclassification:

If misclassified as a contractor, employers owe back payroll taxes
Penalty per employee of $250-2,500
Employees may file lawsuits for owed overtime, benefits, etc.

How the New Rule Affects Workers:

Workers now properly classified as employees will qualify for minimum wage, overtime, FMLA, discrimination protections, etc.
Unemployment benefits and workers compensation coverage
Potential to bargain collectively through unions

Guidelines for Employers:

Don’t set worker’s hours, schedules or dictate how tasks are performed
Allow workers to perform services for multiple businesses
Issue 1099-NEC forms for independent contractors
Use written contracts specifying independent contractor status
Consider additional tax/benefit stipends to offset contractor costs
Re-evaluate all classifications annually for changes

Impacts on Workers:

If properly classified as employees, gig/contract workers will qualify for minimum wage and overtime protections under the FLSA
This could mean millions more workers gaining rights like time-and-a-half overtime pay for hours over 40 in a workweek
Companies may need to pay back wages if workers are found to have been misclassified under the new standard

The new rule provides a clearer and more robust framework to determine true independent contractor status versus employment relationships under labor laws. It has significant ramifications for the rights and pay of many gig economy participants.

Tips for Gig/Independent Workers:

Incorporate as an LLC or S corporation if possible
Issue proper invoices/contracts for services
Set your own hours and work methods
Provide services to multiple companies if applicable
Make financial investments in your business/tools
Market yourself as an independent brand
Overall, properly determining status upfront helps ensure compliance and that all parties understand their rights/responsibilities. Consulting experts can help navigate specifics.

set-up s-corp to avoid the dol rule and save money here's how!

How to Incorporate:

LLCs provide liability protection and pass-through taxation by filing articles of organization with your state. Costs ~$50-500.
S Corps elect pass-through taxation by filing IRS Form 2553. Requires issuing stock and keeping minutes/records.

Business Investments for Gig Workers:

Tools/equipment – laptop, phone, vehicle for transportation services
Software/licenses – QuickBooks, invoicing platforms, app fees
Marketing – website, business cards, social media ads
Insurance – liability, equipment coverage, E&O policies
Certifications/education – classes further skills, credentials

Marketing as an Independent Brand:

Create a professional website/online presence
Craft an “about me” with credentials and specialties
Utilize social media to showcase experience and work
Leverage online directories/review sites
Partner with related influencers for referrals


Review classifications now using IRS/DOL tests
Incorporate independent contractors as LLCs/S Corps if long term
Draft contracts specifying independence of workers
Importance: Rules take effect 3/11/2023 with potential enforcement starting soon after. Proactively ensuring correct classifications can avoid compliance issues and penalties down the road. The self-employed represent a growing demographic and following regulations protects workers and businesses.

Here are some Additional Details on the New Classification Standards:

Classification Standards for Gig Workers:

The new tests focus more on economic dependence and control over work
Most gig/on-demand jobs are at higher risk of reclassification (e.g. rideshare drivers)
However, those demonstrating independence through setting own hours, using own equipment, performing services outside main business, taking on opportunities for profit/loss are more likely to remain contractors

Resources on Industry Impacts and FAQs:

Kellogg School discusses impacts on gig platforms: https://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/faculty/directory/articles/gig-platform-workers-and-the-new-independent-contractor-rule.aspx

Cornell outlines construction, tech and healthcare impacts: https://www.ilr.cornell.edu/news/impacts-dol-independent-contractor-rule-selected-sectors

SHRM analyzes effects in delivery, home services and rideshare: https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/compensation/pages/dol-delivers-independent-contractor-standard.aspx

The key is ensuring each worker’s classification aligns with how your business actually operates to avoid enforcement risks and compliance issues.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What are the potential penalties for misclassification?
A: Penalties range from $250-$5,500 per violation plus owed employment taxes.

Q: Can gig workers obtain benefits if classified as employees?
A: Yes, proper classification makes them eligible for unemployment benefits, workers comp, minimum wage, overtime, paid leave, anti-discrimination protections.

Q: Do independent contractors receive a 1099 or W-2 form?
A: 1099-NEC forms are for non-employee independent contractor compensation. W-2 forms report wages/taxes for employees.

Here are some potential challenges or criticisms that could be raised about the new DOL independent contractor rule:

  • It may overly restrict flexibility and innovative business models that rely on independent work arrangements. This could stifle emerging industries.
  • The economic realities test focuses more on control and long-term nature of relationships, which doesn’t always match modern contingent or freelance work.
  • Reclassifying many gig workers as employees could significantly increase costs for platform companies and be passed onto consumers in the form of higher prices.
  • Some independent contractors may lose autonomy and freedom if required to be employees with set schedules and obligations. This could reduce side hustle opportunities.
  • Enforcement will be difficult given the complex nature of assessments and conflicting state/federal standards. Misclassification disputes may still arise.
  • The broad scope of the rule may have unintended ripple effects far beyond the industries it aims to address like decreasing opportunities for independent work.
  • Compliance challenges will be greatest for multistate companies trying to interpret and apply multiple jurisdictional standards simultaneously.
  • Lower-wage gig workers could potentially receive benefits of reclassification but better-paid independent professionals may lose flexibility.
  • Lawsuits over back pay from reclassification could strain company finances and potentially put some businesses at risk.
  • So in summary, criticisms center around reduced flexibility, high compliance costs, overzealous scope, and enforcement difficulties.


The new rule necessitates a reevaluation of how we classify workers in the evolving landscape of the gig economy. While it brings clarity and protection for many, it also presents challenges and potential constraints for businesses and contractors. Navigating this new terrain will require a balanced approach, taking into account the nuances of different roles and the needs of both workers and employers.

claim the self employment tax credit - setc

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *