I often think of the worker classification case I was involved with as a new attorney at the Employment Development Department. One of my witnesses, an independent contractor truck driver, testified that he netted over $30,000 more per year than I was grossing as a state attorney. I realized at that moment that I was involved in restricting this gentleman from engaging in a lawful business which worked very well for him. The California legislature may soon be faced with a similar burden.
The long-anticipated case Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles, was issued on April 30, 2018. The case dealt with whether delivery drivers classified as independent contractors were misclassified as such under California Industrial Wage Commission Wage Order No. 9-2001.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently launched the Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) program, which is designed to quickly resolve unintentional minimum wage violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) without penalty to qualified participants. Workers will benefit by swiftly receiving back wages that are owed, and employers can get into compliance without paying penalties. Employers must act quickly, however, since the pilot program is scheduled to end in about six months.
Since 1990, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) has retained the statutory authority to issue penalties for failure to file Forms W-2 and/or 1099. Until this year, effective January 1, 2018, taxpayers assessed the steepest of those penalties, Unemployment Insurance Code section 13052.5, did not have a right to petition the assessment. However, since enactment of Assembly Bill 1695 on July 24, 2017, and effective January 1, 2018, Section 13052.5 is now petitionable before the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board.
In January, 2015, the California Supreme Court granted review of Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court (Lee) (2014) 230 Cal.App.4th 718.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced on June 7, 2017 that the Department will no longer follow the informal guidance issued as Administrator Interpretation Letters in 2015 and 2016 regarding joint employment and independent contractors [here], signaling an easing of the federal guidance on the use of contract labor. According to its press release, "The Department will continue to fully and fairly enforce all laws within its jurisdiction, including the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act." To read the full press release, click here.
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is recommending that the IRS expand the criteria used to refer potential criminal cases for investigation for certain employers that fail to remit payroll taxes to the IRS. TIGTA found that tax noncompliance in employment tax matters is growing, and as of December 2015 the IRS is owed nearly $46 billion in unpaid employment taxes, interest, and penalties.
On the heels of the most recent development in the Uber worker classification dispute, the Internal Revenue Service has put together a free webinar about the differences between Employee and Independent Contractor worker classifications. Join the agency on May 12, 2016 at 2:00 pm EST (11:00 am PST) to learn about control factors, voluntary compliance, and IRS Form SS-8. Register here: https://www.webcaster4.com/Webcast/Page/925/14635
Employers who wish to utilize independent contractors in their business model may often do so, however, adequate review of the employers' documents and practices is crucial to a successful business plan based on an independent contractor workforce. This week, Uber learned this lesson the hard way.
California's Employment Development Department publishes a new Employer's Guide (DE 44) and Household Employer's Guide (DE 8829) each year to help you understand your rights and responsibilities if your business hires employees.