DOL Proposed Rule Limits Food Industry Staffing Flexibilities  

Arlington, VA - In response to proposed regulations, FMI – The Food Industry Association filed a letter opposing the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) revamp of the rule that determines if a worker is an independent contractor. FMI’s letter calls on DOL to retain the current independent contractor framework and not replace it with the proposal to expand the factors for determination. FMI also joined several associations and businesses in signing a coalition letter opposing the proposed rule.  

The Fair Labor Standards Act governs how a business classifies a worker, including an independent contractor in a gig profession, as an employee for purposes of applying federal wage and overtime requirements. The proposed rule applies six or more factors in determining whether an independent contractor must be classified as an employee instead of the current policy that applies two core factors.  

“FMI members need the flexibility to utilize the staffing resources of vendors and contractors, such as on-demand delivery services, to address evolving requirements of our 21st century economy and workforce,” said Christine Pollack, FMI’s vice president of government relations.  

Pollack continued, “The workforce shortage remains the food industry’s top supply chain challenge. Coupling this shortage with the growing demand for ecommerce grocery services and direct-to-home delivery further complicates matters for businesses in our industry. DOL should foster a regulatory environment that promotes a diversity of work arrangements and not tie the hands of businesses that seek staffing help and individual contractors who seek independence.”  

Additionally, FMI signed comments filed by the Coalition for Workforce Innovation (CWI) which detail legal arguments as to why the proposed rule should not be implemented. CWI brings together a diverse group of stakeholders to educate policymakers on the benefits of independent work and to support policy proposals that protect and empower individuals to choose nontraditional work arrangements. CWI's press statement is available here