Paul DeCamp Quoted in “The Real Future of Work”

POLITICO Magazine January/February 2018

Paul DeCamp, a Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC office, was quoted in POLITICO Magazine, in “The Real Future of Work,” by Danny Vinik.

Following is an excerpt:

Over the past two decades, the U.S. labor market has undergone a quiet transformation, as companies increasingly forgo full-time employees and fill positions with independent contractors, on-call workers or temps—what economists have called “alternative work arrangements” or the “contingent workforce.” Most Americans still work in traditional jobs, but these new arrangements are growing—and the pace appears to be picking up. From 2005 to 2015, according to the best available estimate, the number of people in alternative work arrangements grew by 9 million and now represents roughly 16 percent of all U.S. workers, while the number of traditional employees declined by 400,000. A perhaps more striking way to put it is that during those 10 years, all net job growth in the American economy has been in contingent jobs.

Around Washington, politicians often talk about this shift in terms of the so-called gig economy. But those startling numbers have little to do with the rise of Uber, TaskRabbit and other “disruptive” new-economy startups. Such firms actually make up a small share of the contingent workforce. The shift that came for Borland is part of something much deeper and longer, touching everything from janitors and housekeepers to lawyers and professors. …

Weil’s argument that contingent workers are generally worse off in their new job arrangements is not universal. Many conservatives say the rise of the contingent workforce has positives as well as negatives, giving employers new flexibility and leading to lower prices for consumers. The business community pushed back on Weil’s efforts to strengthen enforcement, saying he went beyond his authority. “We shouldn’t be going and looking for ways to make the law to apply to situations that it wouldn’t otherwise,” said Paul DeCamp, who led the Wage and Hour Division during the Bush administration and now represents employers in federal labor law cases, “based on some normative view about what a business ought to do for a worker.”