(The Center Square) – The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce has voted in favor of a bill introduced by a local congressman that seeks to clarify the “co-employer” rule for small business owners.
U.S. Representative James Comer, a Republican from Tompkinsville, filed HR 3185, called the Save Local Business Act, last week. Comer said he introduced the bill to promote policies that encourage greater workforce participation and ease regulatory burdens on small businesses.
“Our bill will protect the franchise business model, allow small businesses to thrive, and create fewer bureaucratic headaches for American job creators at a time when our economy is in desperate need of a boost.” inch, ”Comer said in a statement.
The Kentucky chamber said it sent a letter of thanks to Comer for the bill, which would define “joint employer” status only for companies that exercise control over terms and conditions of employment.
“As businesses in Kentucky and the country grapple with the harsh economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, this legislation couldn’t be more timely,” wrote Travis Burton, the chamber’s director of political affairs.
The US Department of Labor – then under the Trump administration – issued a directive in January 2020 that restricted the scope of the rule, especially for those with franchises or relationships with contractors. Most of that rule, however, was overturned by a federal judge last September.
As the Trump administration appealed the case, the Biden administration released a new rule in March that overruled the previous administration’s directive. In its explanation published in the Federal Register, the Biden administration said the changes would provide greater protection for workers.
“This could particularly improve the well-being and economic security of workers in low-wage industries, many of whom are immigrants and people of color, as violations (Fair Labor Standards Act) are more serious and widespread in labor markets. low-wage work, ”the Ministry of Labor said.
Comer called this an “overstepping” of federal powers.
More than 65 industry trade associations have pledged to support the bill, including the National Federation of Independent Businesses and Associate Builders and Contractors.
“Returning to a joint employer standard of ‘direct control’ will give small business owners the certainty they once enjoyed. This standard will make it clear to small employers when they can be held accountable for the actions of a subcontractor, ”said Jeff Brabant, NFIB Senior Director for Federal Government Relations.
In addition to industry support, 54 members of the US House – all Republicans – have joined as cosponsors. US Senator Roger Marshall, of R-Kansas, introduced a complementary bill in the Senate.