This week, Congress is working against the clock to avert a government shutdown and pass new spending legislation before the current continuing resolution expires on Friday, December 11. As lawmakers continue to discuss a variety of policy riders during omnibus negotiations, here’s why the joint-employer rider should be a bipartisan no-brainer and be included in any spending legislation that funds the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
The joint-employer policy rider prevents enforcement of the NLRB’s new joint-employer standard in the 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services Funding bill. The policy rider restores the traditional joint-employer standard, which fostered the creation of thousands of beneficial business relationships, including franchise businesses, contractors, and temporary staffing agencies.
In August, the NLRB unilaterally changed the definition of joint employment in a way that could expose tens of thousands of businesses across the United States to increased costs and liability. For decades, the NLRB held that a joint-employer relationship existed when one company exercised “direct and immediate” control over another company’s workforce. Under the NLRB’s new definition, companies may be held legally liable for labor violations committed by other employers with whom they contract, even if they do not exercise direct control over that company or its employees.
By making employers liable for the practices of contractors, franchises, and temporary staffing agencies, companies will likely bring many functions in-house, take greater control of operations, or eliminate jobs. Defining companies that merely contract with each other as joint employers, the NLRB threatens entrepreneurship and the ability of American businesses to grow and create jobs. Moreover, the NLRB’s redefinition of joint employment threatens franchising, which has provided countless small entrepreneurs with the opportunity to start their own businesses.
Including a policy rider that reverses the NLRB’s new joint-employer standard in any future spending legislation is a step in the right direction for American workers, businesses, and the U.S. economy as a whole. If the joint-employer policy rider is not included, the future of many beneficial business arrangements, including contracting, temporary staffing, and franchise businesses—which have created jobs faster than other businesses in the last seven years—will be in jeopardy.
For more on this issue, read my op-ed in The Washington Examiner today, “Congress Can Rein in NLRB by Withholding Funds.”