Good things are happening! Workers stiffed on employee benefits get new legal protections, while a major airline merger is grounded by the courts. Meanwhile, new rules aim to cut down on dangerous emissions, while a fossil fuel rail scheme hits another roadblock. All this and more in today’s You Love To See It.

Gig Workers Score Employee Benefits And Protections

Labor regulators are finally taking action on employers who have been classifying gig workers and other laborers as independent contractors, and thereby denying them benefits and protections they deserve. 

In a new rule announced Jan. 10, the Department of Labor offered new guidelines to determine whether a worker is properly classified as an employee or independent contractor, a distinction that has serious economic implications. The rule will use an “economic reality test” to determine whether workers are financially dependent on their employer — and if they are, the workers need to be classified as employees.

Around the country, potentially millions of workers are classified as independent contractors when they should be classified as employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Act, originally established in 1938 to protect workers, says that employees are entitled to a federal minimum wage, overtime pay, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation coverage, and protection against retaliation. Independent contractors, who are “in business for themselves,” do not typically enjoy those protections.