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Labor proposal could upend rules for gig workers, companies

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(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

The U.S. Department of Labor has published a new proposal on how workers should be classified saying that thousands of people have been incorrectly labeled as contractors rather than employees, potentially curtailing access to benefits and protections they rightfully deserve.

Misclassifying workers as independent contractors denies those workers protections under federal labor standards, promotes wage theft, allows certain employers to gain an unfair advantage over businesses, and hurts the economy, the department said Tuesday.

The reaction in markets for major gig companies was immediate. Shares of Lyft and Uber tumbled about 13%. in early trading.

The misclassification of workers has negatively impacted delivery workers, custodians, truck drivers, waiters, construction workers and more, according to the department.

“While independent contractors have an important role in our economy, we have seen in many cases that employers misclassify their employees as independent contractors, particularly among our nation’s most vulnerable workers,” said Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh in a prepared statement. “Misclassification deprives workers of their federal labor protections, including their right to be paid their full, legally earned wages.”

The Labor department’s proposed rule would help employers and workers determine whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

“This is a long-awaited determination that will empower essential workers to assert their basic wage and hour, health and safety, and compensation rights,” said Patricia Campos-Medina, executive director of the Worker Institute at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. “All workers are entitled to these rights, but employers easily avoid them by making arbitrary decisions on independent contractor rules.”

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said the proposal would constitute a major change for workers and employers from previous years.

“A classification to employees would essentially throw the business model upside down and cause some major structural changes if this holds,” Ives wrote.

Last year the Biden administration repealed a Trump-era rule that would have made it easier to classify workers as independent contractors. The repeal meant the Labor Department was able to continue using existing rules under the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act to determine whether a worker should be classified as an independent contractor.

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GivingTuesday raises $3.1B for charities in tough economy

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NEW YORK (AP) — GivingTuesday raised a record $3.1 billion in 24 hours for charitable causes in the U.S. earlier this week, as the event that started as a hashtag in 2012 celebrated its 10th anniversary and its status as a staple of fundraising for nonprofits, the group’s leader said Wednesday.

Despite the difficult economic year that many households have experienced, with inflation in the costs of basic goods, gas and housing, people were still willing to give, said GivingTuesday CEO Asha Curran.

“That’s really what we saw yesterday,” she told The Associated Press. “That whatever it is that people are experiencing, they were as generous as they had the capacity to be.”

GivingTuesday estimated that giving increased about 15% from 2021′s $2.7 billion, outpacing inflation. Donations were tallied using an array of data sources that includes major community foundations, companies that offer fundraising software, the payment processor PayPal and large grantmakers like Fidelity Charitable and Vanguard Charitable. Their methodology for compiling the estimate seeks to eliminate duplicate data points, Curran said.

In another measure of the resilience of donations, Fidelity Charitable said Tuesday that for the first time since 2018, the value of grants from its donor advised funds exceeds the value of investments going into the funds.

The organization said this year’s totals marked the largest amount donated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving since the group started tracking it.

The hashtag to promote fundraising on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving started in 2012 as a project of the 92nd Street Y and the organization GivingTuesday became an independent nonprofit in 2020. The organization has also launched a campaign to raise $26 million over five years to expand their database of giving.

In the tenth year of nonprofits and donors marking the day, Curran said, people continue to show incredible generosity.

“They give in a multitude of ways. It does not always have to do with money. It often has to do with community. It is very collective. It has a lot to do with people feeling like they are a fractal of a larger whole,” Curran said. “And yesterday was just one more reaffirmation of that.”

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Stocks fall as Fed signals rates need to go still higher

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Stocks closed lower on Wall Street and Treasury yields rose Thursday afternoon after more indications from the Federal Reserve that it may need to raise interest rates much higher than many people expect to get inflation under control.

The S&P 500 fell 0.3%, with retailers and banks among the biggest weights on the benchmark index. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped less than 0.1%, while the Nasdaq composite closed 0.3% lower.

Decliners outnumbered gainers on the New York Stock Exchange by nearly a 2-to-1 margin. Smaller company stocks fell harder than the rest of the market, pulling the Russell 2000 index 0.8% lower.

Bond yields rose and hovered around multidecade highs. The yield on the two-year Treasury note rose to 4.45% from 4.37% late Wednesday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which influences rates on mortgages and other consumer loans, rose to 3.77% from 3.69% late Wednesday.

The Fed has been raising rates aggressively in order to tame inflation by applying the brakes to the economy. Investors have been hoping that more signs of easing inflation could help the central bank shift to less aggressive rate increases.

The central bank, though, has been clear about its intent to keep raising rates, possibly to unexpectedly high levels, to tame inflation. James Bullard, who leads the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, reaffirmed that position in a presentation on Thursday, suggesting the Fed’s short-term rate may have to rise to a level between 5% and 7% in order to quash stubbornly hot inflation. The central bank has already raised its key rate to a range of 3.75% to 4%, up from nearly zero as recently as last March.

“Bullard’s comments this morning suggesting that they need to get the fed fund (rate) between 5% and 7% was a surprise, to say the least, to markets,” said Scott Ladner, chief investment officer at Horizon Investments. “That certainly was a shock to folks and pushed us further down.”

The S&P 500 fell 12.23 points to 3,946.56. The Dow dropped 7.51 points to 33,546.32. The Nasdaq lost 38.70 points to close at 11,144.96. The Russell 2000 index fell 14.04 points to 1,839.12. The major indexes are all headed for weekly losses.

The presentation from Bullard follows reports showing that inflation is starting to ease somewhat, but still remains extremely hot as consumers continue spending amid a very strong jobs market. Strong spending and employment remain a potential bulwark against the economy slipping into a recession. It also means the Fed will likely remain aggressive and raises the risk that it will hit the brakes hard enough on the economy to actually bring on a recession.

Stock markets “got a little bit ahead of themselves” after getting encouraging reports on consumer and wholesale prices easing a bit, said Ross Mayfield, investment strategist at Baird. “But, the Fed knows they have a long way to go.”

“When you have the (Fed) statement already laying it out and someone like Bullard saying what he said, there is a little bit of jawboning markets back down and letting investors know this fight is not over.”

Outside of concerns about inflation, the market is also worried about Russia’s war in Ukraine and lockdowns in China hurting the global economy.

The conflict in Ukraine has been weighing on the energy sector and any worsening could cause spikes in prices for oil, gas and other commodities that the region produces. U.S. oil prices fell 4.6%.

China’s “zero-COVID” approach has caused a supply crunch for some of Asia’s biggest manufacturers, denting economic growth.

Markets in Asia and Europe fell.

Companies are also wrapping up the latest round of earnings reports. Macy’s jumped 15% after beating analysts’ quarterly financial forecasts and raising its earnings outlook.

Retailer Bath & Body Works soared 25.2% after reporting strong financial results.

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CFHLA CEO Robert Agrusa Receives Recognition from State Rep. Daisy Morales

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Former State Rep. Daisy Morales recognizes CFHLA President and CEO Robert Agrusa at his office. Photo: Daisy Morales (via Facebook).
Former State Rep. Daisy Morales recognizes CFHLA President and CEO Robert Agrusa at his office. Photo: Daisy Morales (via Facebook).

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – State Representative Daisy Morales (D-Orlando) presented Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association President and CEO Robert Agrusa with a certificate at the CFHLA headquarters last week.

Rep. Morales honored his and the CFHLA’s strong relationship and support for her office. The certificate for “Outstanding Support” reads in part: “I hereby recognize you for your support of the Office of State Representative Daisy Morales.”

 

Former State Rep. Daisy Morales recognizes CFHLA President and CEO Robert Agrusa at his office. Photo: Daisy Morales (via Facebook).

State Rep. Daisy Morales recognizes CFHLA President and CEO Robert Agrusa at his office. Photo: Daisy Morales (via Facebook).

 

“I’m honored to recognize Mr. Agrusa,” said Representative Morales. “I appreciate Mr. Agrusa’s and the CFHLA’s commitment to our rebounding and ever-growing hospitality industry.”

 

Photo: Daisy Morales (via Facebook).

Photo: Daisy Morales (via Facebook).

 

According to research done earlier this year, some 36 million travelers visited Florida in the first quarter of 2022, just six million more than the visitors in 4th quarter of 2021, and the numbers are on a steady upward trajectory. Prior to the pandemic, Florida boasted an average of over 72 million visitors per year.

The CFHLA will host its annual Hospitality Gala, its signature black tie event in which the organization recognizes hospitality industry leaders and supporters, on December 17, 2022 at the Disney Coronado Resort.

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Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | mellissa.thomas@floridanationalnews.com

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