How A Proposed DOL Regulation Could Affect The Workers’ Comp Rights Of Gig Workers In Georgia
According to reporting from Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPR), the United States Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a new proposed rule that could have a major impact on gig workers in Georgia—including in regards to workers’ compensation benefits. In this blog post, our Decatur workers’ comp lawyers explain the most important things that gig employees in Georgia should know about how the proposed DOL regulation could affect their workers’ comp rights.
Background: No Workers’ Comp Coverage for Independent Contractors in Georgia
The term “gig worker” is used relatively broadly to describe a class of individuals who perform work for companies and organizations but are not actually employees. They are classified as independent contractors. From a legal perspective, it is a very important distinction. Many workplace rights and benefits are linked to a person’s status as an “employee”—meaning gig workers (independent contractors) are not entitled to those same rights or benefits.
One area where it matters a lot is workers’ compensation. In Georgia, employers are required to provide no-fault workers’ comp insurance to virtually all employees. The key word there is “employee”—independent contractors are not entitled to workers’ compensation coverage in Georgia. In other words, gig workers in Georgia generally are not covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
The DOL is Seeking to Tighten Rules Over Who Qualifies as a “Gig Worker”
In recent years, there have been complaints from workers’ rights organizations that employers—including many large corporations—are abusing “gig worker” status by improperly classifying people who should be considered employees as independent contractors. In October, the DOL announced a new proposed rule that would tighten the standard for who qualifies as an independent contractor.
More specifically, the proposed DOL regulation would reinstate the so-called “economic realities” test, which was effectively repealed by the Trump Administration. The regulation proposed by the DOL would create a six-factor test through which the “totality of the circumstances” would be evaluated to determine whether or not an individual should be classified as an employee or may be lawfully classified as an independent contractor.
The proposed regulation could have major implications for many gig workers in Georgia. As noted previously, many workplace rights and benefits—including the right to receive no-fault workers’ comp coverage—are tied to a person’s status as an employee. If more gig workers are classified as employees instead of as independent contractors, they would be eligible for workers’ comp.
Schedule Your Free Consultation With a Top Decatur Workers’ Comp Lawyer
At O’Connell Law Firm, our Decatur workers’ compensation attorneys are committed to helping injured workers secure the maximum benefits. If you or your family member was hurt on the job, we are here as a resource. Reach out to us by phone or contact us online to arrange your no cost, fully private consultation. From our Decatur office, we handle workers’ comp claims throughout the area, including in DeKalb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, and Rockdale County.