The Labor Department on Monday was wise to propose to roll back an Obama administration rule that has wreaked havoc on chain restaurants and other franchise-model businesses.

For more permanence, Congress really ought to pass legislation revoking the rule, but that’s not likely to happen with Democrats in control of the House of Representatives. In light of Congress’s inaction, it is far better for the Labor Department to undo an administrative mistake than to wait for Congress to act.

The Obama administration had changed the interpretation of law pertaining to “joint employers” in a way that, to quote today’s Washington Examiner news story, would “make businesses liable for workplace liabilities at other businesses even if they had only ‘indirect control’ — a vague standard that business groups objected to. Traditionally, one business had to have direct control over another's policies to be considered a joint employer.”

By contrast, “Monday's revamped rule by the DOL would set the narrower requirement that the company must ‘actually’ exercise power over the other's policies.”

As explained in earlier columns in this space, the Obama rule created a situation where, for example, both a national burger chain and its local franchise could be on the hook for an employment dispute at a single outlet. The result was to deter the practice of franchising in the first place, cutting significantly into entrepreneurship and especially service industry job growth. This was particularly borne out in the hotel sector, where job growth virtually halted after the Obama rule was adopted.

What the Trump Labor Department proposed Monday would come close to returning the rule to the pre-Obama standard, whereby a company must "actually" exercise power over the other's policies in order to be considered a second or “joint” employer.

The new rule will not go into effect until after a 60-day public comment period, and it may be subject to court battles afterward. But if it stands, it will be a major improvement over current policy.

“This proposal will reduce uncertainty over joint-employer status and clarify for workers who is responsible for their employment protections,” Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said in a statement.

With the economy having slowed down in the past several months, the new rule, with its greater clarity and certainty, will provide a nice little economic boost. Let’s hope the rule is finalized soon, without too many court delays.