Pennsylvania’s Joint Task Force on Misclassification of Employees (“Task Force”) held its eighth meeting of the year on August 26, 2022, the fifth in-person meeting since its assembly in January 2021. The Task Force is a bipartisan group of nominated volunteers representing business, labor, and government seeking to publicize a comprehensive understanding of worker misclassification and its consequences.
Deputy Secretary for Safety and Labor-Management Relations and Chairman of the Task Force, Basil Merenda, began the meeting by discussing an outreach plan to educate the public, workers, and business owners about the worker misclassification issue and any obligations under the law. The plan is one of fifteen recommendations the Task Force made in its March 1, 2022 Annual Report. Chairman Merenda provided details about the plan, such as the need for a request for proposal and funds allocated by the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The Task Force will revisit the outreach plan in its next meeting.
The Task Force also invited members of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce (the “Chamber”) to discuss worker misclassification from the perspective of employers and business groups. Alex Halper, Director of Government Affairs at the Chamber, led the presentation. Members of the Chamber and representatives of companies affiliated with the Chamber discussed the importance of independent workers from their perspective. Gerald Hickly, a representative from PGT Trucking, stated that the current definition of independent workers has “worked for generations” and it is “not the desire of independent workers” to change it.
Kelsey Desloover of DoorDash and Dalene Bramer of Uber explained that drivers want flexibility and that most drivers do not work more than ten hours a week. Desloover claimed the desires of DoorDashers boil down to three words: “access, choice, and security.” Desloover also pledged DoorDash’s support for PA Senate Bill 949, which establishes portable benefits for App-Based workers.
Independent Contractor Roger Baumgarten of Roger That Photography discussed how being an independent contractor benefits him and provides him flexibility. He explained that he did not want to be “ensnared in the classification” of an employee. Furthermore, Baumgarten said that he understands the payroll taxes and lack of benefits that comes with being an independent contractor, but that the freedom and flexibility of working on his own schedule outweighs those cons.
Alex Halper concluded the Chamber’s presentation by advising the Task Force to focus its attention back to the construction industry and bad actors that lead to actual misclassification. During the Q&A session of the meeting, many Task Force Members had specific questions for the DoorDash and Uber representatives regarding what feedback drivers have been providing whether drivers are receiving appropriate protections on the job, like insurance.
The Task Force will host its next meeting on Friday, September 23, 2022. More information about the Task Force and future meetings is available here.
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