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Weekly Roundup: US housing market improvement, CA independent contractor bill, & more

Weekly Roundup: US housing market improvement, CA independent contractor bill, & more

June 25, 2019

Contractor Insider is a weekly roundup of the latest news and insights relevant to contractors.

US housing show signs of improvement amid market drop

Strong groundbreaking activity in the last two months show positive signs for the US homebuilding market despite recent housing drop in May. Reuters

  • Data from March and April show stronger values than expected. April registered an increase rate of 1.281 million units versus the projected 1.235 million units.
  • Mortgage rates have dropped but the US housing market continues to struggle with land and labor shortages, according to the report from the Commerce Department.
  • The single-family housing segment is the largest sector in construction and is also the sector that suffers the steepest drop, declining by 6.4% in May.

California Senate to review bill on independent contractors

The California state assembly approved a bill that may confine the definition of an independent contractor, potentially enforcing a strict method to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee. Construction Dive

  • The strict method also known as the ABC test will limit who could be considered as an independent contractor to only those who work without direction from the employer, among other criteria.
  • This new measure is seen as one of the ways to increase worker protection, which has been a hot topic across the country.
  • Dishonest employers have reportedly been classifying their direct employees as independent contractors to avoid paying fair wages and providing health insurance.

Contractor group supports rate regularization

The Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. has submitted their comments to the Department of Labor (DoL) in support of the latter’s regular rate proposal. ABC

  • DoL is proposing an update to the regulations stipulated in section 7(e) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which covers regular rate requirements in the labor sector.
  • The proposed updates include clarifying the types of employee benefits that must be excluded from the regular rate.
  • Clarifying the types of employees could encourage employers to extend employer benefits such as tuition reimbursement and public transportation subsidies.
  • This will be the first time in 50 years that FLSA regulations would be updated.