Singleton Bill To Allow Freelance Workers To Have Portable Benefits In Between Employment Passes Committee

TRENTON  Legislation sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton that would establish a system for portable benefits for workers who provide services to consumers through contracting agents passed the Senate Labor Committee yesterday.

“New technology has yielded a modern economy that allows greater flexibility for independent contractors, but because many of their jobs do not come with health insurance, retirement plans or paid leave, these workers are more vulnerable than many of their counterparts in the traditional workforce,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “The way that people work may be transforming, but the notion that all workers deserve to be treated with respect and should have access to benefits that will foster their long-term well-being has not changed.”

The bill, S-67, would establish a system to provide portable benefits for certain workers.  The benefits would be funded by employer contributions to “qualified benefits providers” (QBP), and which would in turn be required to provide certain benefits to the covered workers.

The bill would require covered contracting agents to contribute the lesser of the following to a QBP:

  1. 25 percent of the total fee collected from the consumer for each transaction; or
  2. $6 per hour that the worker provides services to the consumer, prorated per minute.

The bill would only require contributions to be made for services that are provided to consumers in New Jersey, and they would be permitted to add the contribution amount to the bill or invoice submitted to the consumer.

The bill would apply only to workers that are considered independent contractors for the purposes of the taxes they pay on the compensation they receive for the services they provide, and the entity facilitating their payment has facilitated payments for fifty or more workers per year.

The bill was released from committee by a vote of 5-0, and next heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for further consideration.

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