NCC this week filed public comments on a Labor Department proposed regulation that would modify how a worker is classified as an employee or an independent contractor.

The Department of Labor (DOL) in mid-October published a proposed rule to modify definitions used to determine whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

This proposed rule follows the Department’s attempted withdrawal of a rule issued in January 2021 that also sought to amend standards used to determine employee status. If finalized, the newly proposed rule would rescind and replace the January 2021 rule.

The proposed rule offers six criteria to guide an assessment of the economic realities of a working relationship between an employer and an independent contractor. Considered together, NCC believes the proposed factors would strongly weigh in favor of categorizing contract chicken farmers as independent contractors, as they currently are.

“NCC believes that the existing approach to determining whether an individual is an independent contractor has been appropriate for analyzing the status of independent chicken farmers and has resulted in the correct outcome for the chicken industry, which is that independent chicken farmers are properly considered independent contractors,” NCC’s comments said. “We encourage the Department not to change its approach with respect to independent chicken farmers.”

“Although NCC believes the current approach is the proper one for independent chicken farmers,” the comments said, “after reviewing the Proposed Rule, we believe that under the proposed criteria, these farmers would remain independent contractors. We therefore encourage the Department to clarify that independent chicken farmers would remain independent contractors under the proposed criteria in the event the Department were to finalize the Proposed Rule.”

NCC’s full comments can be found here.