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Employee Misclassification: Improved Outreach Could Help Ensure Proper Worker Classification

GAO-07-859T Published: May 08, 2007. Publicly Released: May 08, 2007.
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Some workers do not receive worker protections to which they are entitled because employers misclassify them as independent contractors when they should be classified as employees. Key worker protections include minimum hourly wage and overtime pay and access to unemployment insurance. The Department of Labor (DOL) enforces several labor laws to protect workers, including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Misclassification can also have a negative impact on tax collection for Social Security, unemployment insurance, and other programs. This testimony draws upon a previous GAO report and focuses specifically on (1) the number and characteristics of independent contractors, (2) the workforce protections and benefits provided to employees that typically are not available to independent contractors, and (3) the actions that DOL takes to detect and address employee misclassification.

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