Senate Will Amend Employee ‘Misclassification’ Bill That Codifies Existing Regulations  

Insider NJ's Fred Snowflack provides an analysis of the ongoing NJ 2020 budget struggle, where Gov. Phil Murphy is withholding $235 million in spending until he is sure the state could pay for it. Senate President Steve Sweeney now wants state Treasurer Elizabeth Muoio to comment on when the funds will be released.


Trenton – A bill that would codify into law existing regulations that protect the rights of workers against misclassification so the regulations can’t be ignored or discarded by future administrations will be amended to ensure the ability of independent contractors to continue to pursue their work under existing rules, Senate President Steve Sweeney said today.


The Senate Labor Committee will adopt the same amendments to the Senate bill, S-4204, already made to the Assembly measure, A-5936, making the companion bills identical, said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland).


“These bills will simply codify into law existing regulations so that future administrations can’t ignore, change or discard the protections already in place to protect workers against the loss of basic rights by being misclassified,” said Senator Sweeney, the sponsor of the Senate bill. “We want to put into law the current regulations to ensure their future viability. The amendments to the bill will continue to ensure the ability of legitimate independent contractors to pursue their work at the same time they safeguard against misclassification.”


The legislation is not the same as the California law.


The bills will not change the way freelance journalists are classified, for example; those who are classified as independent contractors will continue with that designation. The status of freelance journalists will not change.


The bills will continue the practice of using the “ABC” test to classify workers. The three-part test, adopted by the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development and affirmed by the New Jersey Supreme Court, is already used to determine whether a worker should be classified as an employee or independent contractor.


The amendments to the Senate bill will restore language in the “B” part of the test so that employees working outside the places of the employers’ business will continue to qualify as independent contractors. They will also specify that, in meeting the existing “C” part of the test, the service an individual performs must be “of the same nature” of the business or enterprise in which they are normally engaged.


Senator Sweeney said that he is reviewing other requests for modifications to the bill but will maintain the legislation’s focus and emphasis on the protection of workers’ rights and the prevention of misclassification.

“Misclassification not only hurts workers, it hurts law-abiding businesses and the state,” said Senator Sweeney.

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