Richard Reibstein, New York Partner and co-head of Locke Lord’s Independent Contractor Misclassification and Compliance practice, provided insight to Law360 on the expected aid for independent contractors in the $2 trillion relief package passed by the Senate on March 25, 2020 and expected to become law. Reibstein described The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, or H.R. 748, as “momentous” for independent contractors and explained: “Congress is providing unprecedented relief to a class of workers who have chosen to be their own bosses and, as a result, have excluded themselves from the benefits associated with employment. By so doing, Congress has not only eased the financial stress placed upon a key component of the U.S. economy, including millions of workers not engaged in the gig economy, but recognized the importance of preserving the landscape on which independent contractor relationships are based.”
Reibstein further noted that the issue of independent contractor vs. employee classifications, specifically in the gig economy, has been the subject of intense litigation and was politically charged well before the pandemic. He said, “Congress avoided the political issues on this subject and maintained an even-handed approach that favored neither those who are defenders nor those who are critics of the prevalence of independent contractors in the U.S.
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