Direct Sellers Urge Lawmakers to Protect and Clarify Independent Contractor Status

Direct Selling Day on Capitol Hill

The Direct Selling Association (DSA) hosted its annual Direct Selling Day on Capitol Hill for executives and independent direct sellers throughout the United States.

More than 125 people representing 19 DSA member companies met with members of Congress to emphasize the importance of protecting independent workers and to discuss how direct selling offers a flexible and low-risk pathway to entrepreneurship for millions of Americans.

Direct Selling Day on Capitol Hill is part of the DSA’s broader efforts to urge passage of H.R. 3522, the Preserving the Direct Seller Independence Act, which is intended to modernize independent work laws to keep pace with updates in the economy and with the nature of labor.

“As we see more people choosing independent work in today’s economy, it’s important that we recognize that all independent work is not the same,” said Joseph N. Mariano, DSA president and chief executive officer. “Choice is a critical distinction to make, and H.R. 3522 preserves direct sellers’ ability to choose the products they want to sell, the customers they engage with, and the hours they will work—and make those decisions based on their own needs, responsibilities and aspirations.”

Direct sellers participating in the Capitol Hill events represent the more than 6 million entrepreneurs—about 75 percent of whom are women—in the United States. According to 2019 DSA National Salesforce Study, “flexibility” was the top reason for becoming a direct seller.

“Direct selling is a force for good, and we make a positive difference in the lives of so many across the U.S. and beyond,” explained Ryan Napierski, DSA chairman and president of Nu Skin Enterprises. “It is important for us to ensure that our representatives here in Washington, D.C. understand what we do and what makes direct selling different from newer gig economy players. The importance of the work we are doing today cannot be understated.”

Attendees urged almost 100 members of Congress to consider the implications and importance of maintaining the independent contractor status for all direct sellers. During the morning program, attendees heard from members of the Direct Selling Caucus about their support of the direct selling business. Speakers were Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) and Rep Tim Walberg (R-MI).

“As the son of an entrepreneur, I understand what it takes to build a business on your own terms,” explained Rep. Gottheimer. “As co-author of H.R. 3522, the Preserving Direct Seller Independence Act, I believe direct selling and the good that it does universally for American families is something that all legislators, regardless of politics and party affiliation, can stand behind.”

DSA continues to work with members of Congress as a part of ongoing efforts to police, protect and promote direct selling, and to ensure direct sellers are fully understood at all levels of government.