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The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL's) priority is to create jobs, said Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta at the American Bar Association's 11th Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference on Nov. 9.
Under President Donald Trump's executive order on reducing regulations, Acosta said the department can focus on freeing up money and creating efficiencies to "unleash jobs."
It is important that DOL looks at rules that impact economics and government impingement on liberty, he said. Some of the rules the department is closely examining include:
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ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law Chair Don Slesnick asked Acosta to share his thoughts about how the DOL will approach independent contractors and the gig economy.The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will be coming out with a new study on the gig economy for the first time since 2005, Acosta said. If the BLS data indicates that the gig economy is changing, maybe it's time to update the laws on independent contractors.
"So many of our laws presuppose a traditional employer-employee relationship," he said. Should that still the case? "BLS data will give us substantial insight into that."
At some point the economy does change, he added, noting that "we need to ask if those laws are still right for the modern economy." But he stressed that Congress should take the lead because laws should be made through the legislative process, not through agency guidance.
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