Back to Worker Rights and Wages Policy Watch

House Education and Workforce Committee hearing on joint employer standard and H.R. 3441, “Save Local Business Act”

Description: On September 13, 2017, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce held a hearing on H.R. 3441, the so-called “Save Local Business Act,” which would roll back the joint employer standard under both the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Fair Economy Impact: The Save Local Business Act would do nothing to protect small businesses. Instead, the bill would ensure that small businesses are left with sole responsibility for business practices often mandated by large corporations like franchisors. It would establish a joint employer standard that lets big corporations avoid liability for labor and employment violations and leaves small businesses on the hook.

At its most basic, the joint employer standard simply requires that when multiple employers co-determine or share control over a workers’ terms of employment (such as pay, schedules, and job duties), each of those employers is responsible for compliance with worker protection laws. Given the realities of the modern workplace, in which employees often find themselves subject to more than one employer, workers deserve a joint employment standard—under both the FLSA and the NLRA—that guarantees these basic rights and protections.

A weak joint employer standard robs workers of their rights, making it impossible for them to effectively collectively bargain or litigate workplace disputes—and it leaves small businesses holding the bag when the large corporations that control their business practices and set their employees’ schedules violate labor law and refuse to come to the bargaining table. If Congress actually supported small businesses and the workers they employ, they would support a strong joint employer standard.