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January 1997, Vol. 120, No. 1
In 1996, Congress enacted the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-188), which made several changes affecting the unemployment compensation program. The Act reinstated and made permanent the Federal Unemployment Tax Act exemption for wages paid to certain aliens (known as H-2A workers) who are admitted to the United States to perform agricultural labor. Also, the definition of "direct sellers" was expanded to include newspaper carriers and distributors, effectively designating these individuals as independent contractors and thus ineligible for any benefits arising out of status as an employee. Finally, the employment tax status of certain fishery workers was clarified. The law permits exclusion from coverage of services performed by these individuals when certain criteria are met, among them that the average size of the crew on trips made during the preceding four calendar quarters was fewer than 10 individuals. In addition, the exemption applies if the crew member receives certain cash payments. Specifically, the cash payment cannot exceed $100 per trip, must be contingent on a minimum catch, and must be paid solely for additional duties (such as serving as mate, engineer, or cook) for which additional cash remuneration is customary.
This excerpt is from an article published in the January 1997 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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