Comment from Chantel Woodson

My name is Chantel Woodson and 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.

By trade, I am a professional cleaner and have used the app Handy, to help me book jobs and find clients. I have used the app for about two years for about 15-20 hours per week on average. Controlling my schedule allows me to bring my kids to school, pick them up when they get out, and be with them when I want to be with them in a way that a typical 9-5 job would never allow me to do. As a mom to three girls living in the Bronx, NY, my independence and flexibility are so important. That is why, when New York legislators said they wanted to reclassify independent contractors like me as employees, I spoke up to protect working moms like me who depend on the current flexibility we have in the gig economy to pay our bills and care for our families.

I support the DOL’s new rule because it recognizes our economic independence by the opportunity gig workers have to profit based on our initiative. When I schedule and book a cleaning, I am doing so because I want to do that job during that time. Employees don’t have that type of control. The amount of energy and investment I put into my work is rewarded by my tips and re-booking by satisfied clients. This new rule appreciates that gig workers get out of gig work what we put into it. The time, initiative, and energy we put into our work is immediately reflected in our pay and ability to book new clients.

While flexibility is extremely important, I do believe that certain protections and benefits are a must. We must be guaranteed a minimum wage. And we should find a way to distribute paid time off and healthcare benefits to workers in the gig economy. But these benefits should not –and do not need to—come at the expense of our flexibility and the freedom to perform work the way we want to, when we want to.

I appreciate DOL’s attention to this rule and I believe it will help many workers like me as states like New York continue to work on these issues.

Comment ID: WHD-2020-0007-1703 | 26-Oct-20

Categorized under Family, Flexibility, Independence

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