By Laura Merritt, Partner, Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P.

The distinction between employees and independent contractors continues to be a hot topic. Recent commission and court rulings regarding “sharing economy” service providers such as Uber and Lyft have garnered much of the attention. Right here in Austin, the Texas Legislature has provided a subtle but meaningful tweak to its Family Code that has a direct impact on businesses and families all over the state.

New Rules

In brief, on June 18, 2015, Governor Abbott signed Senate Bill 1727, amending Section 234.101(1) of the Texas Family Code to include “an independent contractor as defined by the Internal Revenue Service” in the definition of “Employee” for purposes of child support new hire registry requirements. Employers are now required to report independent contractors in the same manner that they currently report newly hired or rehired employees. The Act takes effect on September 1, 2015. Companies that utilize the services of independent contractors have two months to make appropriate changes to their procedures in order to come into compliance.