By Nandita Bose
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden intends to appoint David Weil, who has backed the government crackdown on the workforce models of gig economy companies like Uber Technologies Inc, to lead a division of the US Department of Labor overseeing the rights of concert workers.
Weil previously served as the senior wage regulator in the administration of former President Barack Obama from 2014 to 2017. One of the hallmarks of his tenure was to conduct investigations into the use by companies of sub- independent contractors.
If appointed and confirmed, he will return to his post in the department’s wages and hours unit, which investigates whether concert workers are wrongly classified as independent contractors and thus miss out on the benefits that employees are entitled, such as overtime and minimum wage.
Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Last month, Biden announced plans to increase the budget for the Wage & Hour division.
Biden’s Labor Department also repealed a Trump-era rule that would have made it easier for companies to classify workers as independent contractors rather than employees under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
In late April, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh told Reuters that a large number of concert workers in the United States should be classified as employees deserving of benefits. The policy change is expected to benefit many workers now classified as contractors while increasing costs for companies that depend on them, like Uber and Lyft.
Republicans and businesses criticized the department’s wage and hours division under previous Democratic presidents, saying its investigations were too aggressive, while unions and activists praised the investigations.
(Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington, editing by David Gregorio)