Capitol Hill

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Another Chance to Defend Independent Contractor Status

July 22, 2021

A U.S. Senate committee held a hearing Thursday on the proposed Protecting the Right to Organize Act, which targets the independent contractor status of millions of Americans. The National Association of REALTORS® vowed that even though parts of the bill face steep resistance on Capitol Hill, the NAR advocacy team will remain vigilant and engaged with lawmakers on the issue.

“As long as this bill is active, we will work to include language protecting existing state definitions of ‘employer’ and ‘employee’ and ensure our industry is protected,” says Shannon McGahn, NAR’s chief advocacy officer. “Around 87% of NAR’s 1.4 million members are independent contractors, most of whom choose this classification. Congress must recognize real estate’s unique place in the economy and support this longstanding federal recognition.”

Earlier this year, NAR urged members not to panic over the legislation.  Contrary to a report at the time, the PRO Act is not and never has been close to imminent passage in the Senate.

In recent months, NAR has intensified its ongoing educational campaign highlighting how crucial the independent contractor classification is to the real estate industry. NAR’s advocacy team argues that provisions in the PRO Act should not apply to real estate professionals, and bipartisan support for a real estate–specific exemption remains consistent.

While securing the 60 votes needed to advance the legislation through the Senate is unlikely, McGahn notes that lawmakers have other avenues to push the legislation forward. “NAR is confident in our position, but we are not letting our guard down given the stakes,” McGahn says. “We raised this issue during our May legislative meetings with more than 500 members of Congress. It was one of our top three legislative priorities this year.”