New Year Brings Raft of Regulatory Changes Impacting Contingent Workforce Management


The New Year and new decade bring new changes to Labor Laws at both the Federal and individual states’ levels. For the busy contingent workforce manager, the changes can be very easy to miss, but the price for failing to stay abreast of laws and regulations makes it critical that they’re observed and understood. Today’s post will highlight a number of the more high-profile changes and underscore the benefits of partnering with a knowledgeable provider of effective supplier management and contingent workforce management solutions.

Federal Laws/Regulations New for 2020

Perhaps the most momentous Federal change that has wide-ranging implications for contingent workforce management is the first redesign of the IRS W-4 form in thirty years. “The new W-4 form reflects key feedback from payroll and other tax authorities,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig in May 2019 of the new design, launched in May and in use for the first tax year in 2020. “The primary goals of the new design are to provide simplicity, accuracy, and privacy for employees while minimizing the burden on employers and contractors.” For payrollers, EORs, AORs and other contingent workforce management solutions providers and their customers, the new form will require extra attention to ensure its proper utilization.

The National Labor Review Board delivered some good news for employers, returning to an earlier precedent for joint employment which deemphasizes the responsibility of the employer. The latest reinterpretation of joint employment holds that to be deemed a joint employer, “an employer must possess and exercise substantial direct and immediate control over the essential terms and conditions of employment in a manner that is not limited and routine” according to the labor law firm of Hunton Andrews Kurth.

Other Federal regulatory changes (most of which are considered favorable to employers more than workers) include:

  • Policies allowing employers to prohibit email use for non-work purposes
  • A defense spending bill that bans federal agencies and federal contractors from requesting job applicants’ criminal history until a conditional offer is made. (Many state and local jurisdictions have provided this candidate protection for some time). Exceptions are made for positions in law enforcement and national security, positions that require access to classified information, and positions that legally require earlier access to criminal information.
  • A rule allowing employers to cease collecting union dues immediately at the conclusion of collective bargaining contracts
  • A rule allowing employers to maintain policies restricting union paraphernalia at work.

These and other NLRB rulings will definitely impact the policies and practices of contingent workforce management operations and should be discussed with solution providers or consultants like nextSource (schedule a consultation here) to ensure your organization’s compliance.

If your organization has contingent workforce management operations in any state