Comment from Asoka Wimalasiri

I am writing in support of the proposed rule clarifying the definition of employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as it relates to independent contractors.

I am a professional handyman with technical skills in furniture assembly and home repair. Over the course of my career, I owned three furniture stores in California. But when I decided to retire, I found a lifeline in doing part-time gig work that allows me to make extra income when I want to. For the past 2 years I have used the Handy platform to find home-repair work for about 10 hours a week. This allows me to put my skills to use by performing work at my own schedule. I especially need this flexibility because my primary source of income is through managing rental properties in the Bay Area that takes the majority of my time and energy.

I support DOL’s new rule because I don’t want to be an employee. I am already self-employed through my work in real estate and use Handy for supplemental income to make extra money on my own terms. As a California resident, it has been concerning to watch the way AB-5 has affected our state. I don’t believe legislators should make decisions that make it harder for people like me to find work and earn a living the way we want to. That is why I think the new rule does a good job of taking into account the workers opportunity for profit or loss based on our own initiative. If you want to make more money in the gig economy, it is up to you to put in that effort. No one is telling us what to do or when. I think it’s good that the government understands this difference and protects people like me who don’t want to make this a full-time job.

In my opinion, California went in the wrong direction, but I do agree with the idea that gig workers need protections and benefits. I believe there must be a way to find the right balance that helps workers without hurting our ability to be independent and flexible.

Thank you for your attention to this matter and the opportunity to give my comments on this proposal.

Comment ID: WHD-2020-0007-0991 | 23-Oct-20

Categorized under Flexibility, Independence, Retirement, Supplemental Income

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