Washington, D.C. — Independent Women’s Forum applauds the Department of Labor’s new proposed rule that aims to protect independent contract work nationwide. The rule would help to remove the confusion and complexity behind the most basic labor question of whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor by establishing a more straight-forward framework to guide businesses in making that determination. 

An estimated 57 million Americans are currently freelancers and nearly half of them are women. If not for independent contract work, many of these workers would be out of the workforce because their personal circumstances limit their ability to work as traditional employees. DOL’s proposed rule comes at a time of high unemployment due to Covid-19 and efforts by states such as California to discourage independent contract work.

Patrice Onwuka, senior policy analyst for the Independent Women’s Forum, issued the following statement:

“Independent, flexible work arrangements are critical today. Now more than ever, women need the flexibility to deal with a personal health condition, help their kids with virtual learning, or care for an aging parent while they earn income. Workers also want the autonomy to control their workload and be their own boss.

“However, flexible work is under pressure from state and federal lawmakers obstinately clinging to the misguided view that all workers want to be traditional employees. Lawmakers are moving aggressively to force more Americans back into outdated employer-employee work models and onto a nine-to-five clock. Assembly Bill 5 in California, the disastrous law that cracked down on independent contractors, has been financially devastating for so many men and women, especially those who could not afford to lobby for a special exemption.

“We welcome the Administration’s efforts to recognize that in this diverse nation people have different needs for work. Americans are clear: they want autonomy, freedom, and flexibility in work, not command and control.”

As part of the workforce campaign Chasing Work, IWF interviews and produces written profiles and mini documentary videos of individuals negatively affected by AB5 and other restrictions on worker freedom and flexibility. To learn more, visit: www.iwf.org/chasing-work.