January 07, 2021

National Restaurant Association Statement on Independent Contractor Status Final Rule

Washington, D.C. – This week, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a final rule adjusting the standard of whether an employee is an employee or independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The National Restaurant Association supports the final rule as it will bring much needed clarity to the identification of covered employees and the overall structure of business relationships.

“This final rule provides much needed direction to restaurant operators to help them more easily determine whether an individual who provide services is properly classified as an independent contractor,” said Shannon Meade, vice president of public policy and legal advocacy. “It also recognizes that these individuals choose independent contract work to have the freedom and flexibility to chart their own path to economic stability and success.”

This is the first time that the DOL has addressed the growing segment of independent contractors in the American workforce. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of maintaining the opportunities that allow American workers to pursue their own initiatives,” said Meade. “When restaurants were forced to quicky pivot their operations, these entrepreneuring individuals were available to deliver goods and services, as well as meals to individuals. The off-premises opportunities created by the pandemic will continue in the future, and this rule will make it easier for operators and independent contractors to grow and thrive with that demand.”

Read the comments the Association and its affiliate the Restaurant Law Center submitted in October 2020 here and review the final rule here.

About the National Restaurant Association

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises more than 1 million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of 15.5 million employees. Together with 52 State Associations, we are a network of professional organizations dedicated to serving every restaurant through advocacy, education, and food safety. We sponsor the industry's largest trade show (National Restaurant Association Show); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF's ProStart). For more information, visit Restaurant.org and find @WeRRestaurants on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.