Employee or Independent Contractor?

ASTA Meets with Key Congressional Members to Discuss Workforce Issues, Independent Contractors

ASTATravel and Tour World reports that the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and others met with government representatives to discuss the Department of Labor’s recent guidance on the classification of workers as employees or independent contractors.  It reports:

The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) joined a select group of trade associations, think tanks, law firms and other stakeholders at a roundtable convened Wednesday by the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce to discuss emerging workforce trends.

ASTA was represented at the invitation-only event by Eben Peck, senior vice president, government & industry affairs and Peter Lobasso, general counsel, who discussed the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) recent guidance related to the classification of independent contractors (ICs) under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

“We were proud to represent ASTA members and share our industry’s perspectives at the roundtable, which couldn’t have come at a better time given the DOL’s recent moves on IC issues,” said Peck. “Our position on this issue is simple–the independent contracting system is a critical part of the way our industry operates and should remain a viable option for travel agencies. We oppose proposals to undo longstanding protections for businesses that rely on the services of legitimate ICs.”

As with other industries represented at the roundtable, travel agencies rely heavily on the services of ICs. According to ASTA’s latest Labor and Compensation member survey, 65 percent of ASTA member agencies reported using at least one IC, and those who do use ICs use an average of 11 of them per agency. All told, an estimated 20,000 ICs work in the travel agency industry–equivalent to 20 percent of the total industry workforce.

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