Tuesday | March 2, 2021

Senators Scott, Blackburn Introduce Modern Worker Empowerment Act

Reps. Elise Stefanik & Michelle Steel lead the pro-worker legislation in the House

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), along with U.S. Representatives Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and Michelle Steel (R-Calif.), introduced the Modern Worker Empowerment Act to create certainty, clarity, and consistency for workers, job creators, and entrepreneurs.

“It is important now more than ever that we make it easier, not harder, for workers to find jobs that allow flexibility and independence,” said Senator Scott. “This legislation creates clarity and consistency for both workers and job creators in how we define independent contractors. This stability will open avenues to innovation and entrepreneurship for American workers in all 50 states.”

“The success of American workers should not be hampered by outdated bureaucratic regulation,” said Senator Blackburn. “Laws defining employment ought to be up to date so that they adequately serve today’s creators and businesses in a way that enables them to live out the American Dream.”

“I am proud to introduce this commonsense solution to lift a needless burden off the shoulders of America’s workers and aspiring entrepreneurs,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “The laws of our land should be as straightforward as possible to allow for innovation, encourage entrepreneurship, and help people across the country achieve their unique American dream.”

“Through AB 5, California made it harder for independent contractors and entrepreneurs to work—especially during the pandemic—and we need to make sure this doesn't happen on the federal level,” said Congresswoman Steel. “There are more than 2 million independent contractors and entrepreneurs working across California, and now more than ever we should be supporting our workforce. This legislation would empower employees and job creators, ensuring they are more protected under federal law. I’m proud to support our workforce through this legislation.”

Background:

  • The Modern Worker Empowerment Act would update the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to codify the common-law definition of “employee,” aligning the FLSA with other federal laws, as well as numerous state statutes and recent Supreme Court decisions.
  • Used by a variety of federal agencies, the common-law test relies on multiple factors, focused primarily on control and independence, in order to determine the appropriate classification for a given worker.
  • By creating consistency and clarity across federal statutes with respect to employee and IC status, this legislation would create certainty for workers, job creators, and federal agencies in making classification determinations.
  • While a patchwork of state laws would likely remain, the bill would thus harmonize federal definitions and standards, resulting in greater efficiency and predictability while removing a potential deterrent to entrepreneurial opportunity for American workers.

Support for the MWEA: Allstate, American Bakers Association, American Society of Travel Advisors, American Trucking Associations, Americans for Tax Reform, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Customized Logistics and Delivery Association, Direct Selling Association, Financial Services Institute, Forest Resources Association, Freedom Foundation, Heritage Action for America, Independent Bakers Association, Insights Association, International Franchise Association, MBO Partners, MSPA Americas, National Association of Home Builders, NetChoice, NFIB, Open Competition Center, Private Care Association, Rio Grande Foundation, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

Full text of the bill is available here.

###

Related Issues: