This morning, members of Congress introduced the “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).
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.
Given the realities of the modern workplace, in which employees often find themselves subject to more than one employer, working people deserve a joint employer standard that guarantees their rights and protections under basic labor and employment laws. Instead, this bill would establish a standard that makes it nearly impossible for workers whose wages are stolen or who are fired for supporting a union to get justice. By limiting employer responsibility to only those firms who “directly, actually, and immediately” exercise significant control over the essential terms and conditions of employment, the bill would enable large firms that contract for services to evade responsibility under both the NLRA and the FLSA.
When two or more businesses co-determine or share control over a worker’s pay, schedule, or job duties, then both of those businesses should be considered employers. 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.