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Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry’s Joint Task Force on Misclassification of Employees Concludes Eleventh Meeting

On November 18th, 2022, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry’s Joint Task Force on Misclassification of Employees (“Joint Task Force”) held its eleventh meeting of the year. The Joint Task Force, composed of seven members (or their designees) and chaired by the Secretary of Labor & Industry, was formed in October 2020 to evaluate the status of worker misclassification in Pennsylvania and develop recommendations to present to the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Since its first meeting in January 2021, the Joint Task Force has considered many comments and presentations from interested parties representing workers, employers, and enforcement entities. It is currently chaired by Basil Merenda, Deputy Secretary for Safety and Labor-Management Relations.

The focus of the November meeting was the draft of the Joint Task Force’s Final Report (“Report”) to the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Hank Butler, a Joint Task Force member appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, began by raising two previously mentioned issues that he felt had been mostly resolved. The first issue was the inclusion of the ABC test, which Butler believed would start a productive conversation determining the responsibilities of being an independent contractor. Butler also favorably noted that the “private right of actions” proposal, which was originally presented in the Report as a requirement, had since been changed to a consideration for the General Assembly.

As the November meeting was one of the last Joint Task Force meetings, many members took the time to explain what the Joint Task Force meant to them. Chief Deputy Attorney General Nancy Walker proudly commented on how the Joint Task Force was voting on a report that not only accomplishes robust protections for working people, but also ensures a level playing field for businesses critical to the economic viability of the state. Deputy Secretary Bryan Barbin stated that the collaborative process of the Joint Task Force resulted in bi-partisan compromises and specific recommendations, which will put the General Assembly in the best position to pass legislation. Barbin also pointed out that the Report details how much money is lost due to worker misclassification each year, and how the problem will only continue to grow if nothing is done.

Drew Simpson, Regional Manager of Carpenters Union Local 445, discussed how the Joint Task Force helped him view worker misclassification as a broad problem that impacts many industries, and that a single worker misclassification test is no substitute for robust enforcement.

Finally, Lance Claiborne, Director of the General Business Contractors Association, commented on how impressed he was with the Joint Task Force’s diligence in editing the Report. According to Claiborne, every presentation and point of view offered during the meetings was considered and incorporated into the Final Report.

At the end of the meeting, Chairman Merenda called for a motion to approve the Report, which was carried unanimously. The Report will be made public once it is submitted to the Legislature.

The Joint Task Force will hold its next public meeting on December 16, 2022. Updates will be posted to this blog as the matter progresses.

The legal team at Miller Shah LLP has extensive experience representing worker misclassification matters. If you have any questions regarding this subject or this post, please contact Chiharu Sekino (cgsekino@millershah.com). The Firm can also be reached toll-free at (866) 540-5505.

Miller Shah LLP is a law firm with offices in California, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. The firm is an active member of the International Advisory Group (IAG Global), which provides clients access to excellent legal and accounting resources across the globe. For more information about the firm, please visit www.millershah.com.

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