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The State House in Trenton. (Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Freelancers still opposing misclassification bill

Independent workers fear codifying regulation would cost them their livelihoods

By Nikita Biryukov, December 11 2019 11:25 am

A freelancer group took issue with an email blast sent out by the state AFL-CIO in support of a bill meant to stop businesses from misclassifying employees as independent contractors Wednesday.

The bill at the crux of the dispute would codify existing regulations that codifies an “ABC test” used by the Department of Labor to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor.

The three-point test requires that independent contractors do work outside a company’s regular course of business, work from outside the business’s premises and have clients apart from the single company.

The regulation already exists, but not as a state statute.

Some freelancers have argued the measure would put them out of work by forcing companies to hire them as employees or not at all. They repeated that charge in an email to lawmakers Wednesday.

The bill’s supporters, on the other hand, argue that the measure would stop businesses from misclassifying employees as independent contractors in order to skirt certain payroll taxes and other associated costs.

Earlier this year, the state charged the ride share company Uber $650 million for what they claim are unpaid unemployment and disability taxes due to the business’s misclassified employees, according to Bloomberg News.

The state’s business community has joined the freelancers in opposition to the bill. Their line is similar to the one offered by the freelancers: They the measure could cost independent contractors large portions of their income.

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