Washington, D.C. — Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) applauds the Department of Labor’s (DOL) final rule protecting independent contractor status for millions of workers nationwide. This rule clarifies whether a worker is an employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or an independent contractor based on a straightforward framework.

DOL is adopting an “economic reality” test to determine whether a worker is economically dependent on an employer for work, which would make him or her an employee, or is working for himself or herself as an independent contractor. 

Nearly half of the nation’s estimated 57 million freelancers are women. They choose independent contracting because of the flexibility, autonomy, and freedom that it affords. Many women want to balance work and career with family and caregiving duties for spouses, children, and aging parents. As proposals to restrict or eliminate independent contracting opportunities gain momentum at the state and now federal level, the Department of Labor’s rule and support for independent work is tremendously important for American workers. 

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

“DOL took an important step to protect choice for workers, especially women who depend on flexible work opportunities to supplement their family’s income or earn a living while still caring for their loved ones. They can be their own boss and work on their own schedule. Independent contracting has also helped many women remain attached to the labor force during this pandemic, which has left millions of workers unemployed and parents forced to be educators and caregivers.

“The threats to independent contracting today are real and growing. We have a House of Representatives and an incoming Biden administration that supports the PRO Act—a nationalized version of California’s job-killing Assembly Bill 5 (AB5)—as well as other states contemplating copy-cat legislation. AB5 effectively reclassified most of the state’s two million independent contractors as employees, leading to countless layoffs, lost contracts, and lost income for workers in the midst of the pandemic. Not only did this hurt workers, but it hurt the people they support and serve. 

“Lawmakers should stop trying to force workers into a one-size-fits-all model of work. Let Americans choose the type of work arrangement that best meets their unique situations.”

As part of its workforce campaign Chasing Work, IWF interviews and produces written profiles and mini-documentary videos of American workers negatively affected by AB5 and other restrictions on worker freedom and flexibility. 

To learn more, visit: www.iwf.org/chasing-work.



Independent Women’s Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities.