As you know, Senate Bill 4204, legislation that effectively prohibits the use of independent contractors in New Jersey, was released from the Senate Labor committee last Thursday, November 14th. The legislation was released with a few modest amendments, exempting accountants, as well as realtors and insurance agents, with caveats.
On Monday, November 18th, the legislation was heard in the Assembly Labor Committee. NJCJI, along with many other organizations in the business community, testified against the legislation, with many more expressing their opposition, without need to testify.
The legislation was released from Assembly Labor with amendments. The amendments were not available in hard copy at the committee but were described as matching amendments adopted in Senate Labor. However, the amended version now posted on the legislative website is not identical to that released by Senate Labor last Thursday.
The Assembly version has reinstated the second element in the “B Prong” – which permits contractors to meet that element if their work is conducted outside the place of business, as an alternative to the “usual course of business.” There is, however, also a tightening of the “C Prong.” The independently established “trade, occupation, profession” is deleted, so it now requires “independently established business or enterprise” – a more restrictive requirement.
The Assembly legislation is expected to be heard in Assembly Appropriations Committee on Thursday, December 5th. The legislation will have a significant budget impact – it covers all public entities, many of which make significant use of independent contractors – but it does not require an actual appropriation. So, query why the legislation is being second referenced to that committee. Additional amendments? Additional testimony and deliberation? We shall see.
The bottom line: both Senate and Assembly versions would interfere unduly with legitimate use of contract workers. And notwithstanding assertions that it is a “pro-worker” bill, the workers themselves would be hardest hit. With consumers, taxpayers, and the New Jersey economy as a whole suffering too.
NJCJI is leading a coalition on this issue. Please reach out to Alida if you would like to discuss further.