Scott, Adams, Kennedy and Over 40 House Democrats Call on Secretary Acosta to Abandon Joint Employment Proposal

June 26, 2019
Press Release

As originally released by the Committee on Education & Labor

WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), Chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor, Congresswoman Alma S. Adams (NC-12), Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, and Congressman Joe Kennedy III (MA-04), along with 44 House Democrats urged Department of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta to withdraw a proposal that undermines joint employment standards under theFair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA)

Joint employment standards under the FLSA help ensure that when a worker has two or more employers, all of those employers can be held accountable for wage theft and other violations.  In defining the employment relationship broadly under the FLSA, Congress sought to protect vulnerable workers and prevent employers from evading accountability for the workers. The Trump administration’s proposal to amend its interpretive regulation would undermine these standards by drastically narrowing the Department’s interpretation of who workers can hold liable for wage theft and other violations.

The Members argue that Trump administration’s proposal, which lacks statutory authority, could make it difficult for workers to hold their employers accountable for minimum wage, overtime, equal pay, and child labor laws. This could lead to increased wage theft that would disproportionately impact vulnerable workers. 

“In recent years, an increasing number of workers are employed by intermediaries as leased employees and permatemps, and by subcontractors, rather than directly employed.  The Department’s proposal conflicts with Congress’s intent to define the employment relationship broadly to better protect these types of workers from substandard labor conditions,” the Members wrote. “The Department does not have authority to undermine congressional intent by defining joint employment under the FLSA so narrowly.”

The full text of the letter is here.

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